Molasses Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

Andrea P.

Warm holiday flavors like molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are combined with real butter in both the cookie and frosting. This delicious cookie recipe took the Grand Prize in our 2019 Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest!
4.5 (5 Reviews)
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30 min Prep Time
12 min Cook Time
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Servings: 2 dozen cookies

Servings: 2 dozen cookies


  • Cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar, for rolling
  • Browned Butter Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Step 1

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together until combined; set aside.

Step 2

In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. Add molasses and beat until combined. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Roll cookie dough, 1 Tablespoon each, into balls. Roll each in granulated sugar and arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Step 4

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until edges appear set and tops are cracking. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before spreading with frosting.

Step 5

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it foams, the foam dissipates, it turns a deep golden brown, and develops brown flecks and a nutty fragrance, about 7 minutes or so. Toward the later stages, around the time it begins to foam, watch the brown butter very closely. It can go from 'brown' to 'burned' very quickly.

Step 6

Remove from heat, cool 2-3 minutes, and carefully pour in powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla, and vigorously whisk the mixture until smooth. If the icing seems to seize or separate, you just need to mix it really well to emulsify it. You can use an electric mixer if preferred. Frosting should be thin enough to spread, but not runny or drippy.

Step 7

Add additional milk or powdered sugar, as needed, to achieve desired consistency.

Step 8

Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of icing onto each cookie. Allow to set.