Christmas is coming, so you might find yourself craving a batch of warm homemade gingerbread cookies. You can go to your pantry and find out that you have no molasses. Don’t worry. I will tell you all about the molasses substitutes for gingerbread cookies and how to use them in your recipes. So, what are some molasses substitutes for gingerbread cookies?
The best molasses substitutes for gingerbread cookies are brown sugar, regular granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, dark corn syrup, applesauce and yogurt.
Molasses has a flavor hard to match and a stickiness that will give gingerbread cookies that soft and chewy texture that we are so familiar with. In this article, I’ll share with you some of the molasses substitutes for gingerbread cookies and what you should consider when using them. I hope you can enjoy some delicious gingerbread cookies as I did.
List of Molasses Substitutes for Gingerbread Cookies
Molasses is an ingredient not like any other. And for that exact reason, we might not have some when we need it. What seems like a problem at first can be solved with one simple ingredient that most of us have in our pantries.
From the below 7 substitute ideas, brown sugar is the best option if you don’t want to make great changes to the recipe in terms of spices. Made from molasses itself, brown sugar is the perfect substitute if flavor is your goal. Maple syrup and dark corn syrup are also very good substitutes because they have a similar texture to molasses.
Let me now explain how to use molasses substitutes to make the perfect gingerbread cookies.
Brown Sugar is obtained when molasses is added to boiling sugar crystals, making it an almost perfect substitute for molasses on our gingerbread cookies. For your recipe, use 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar for each 1 cup of molasses.
Remember that dark brown sugar will give you a stronger molasses flavor as it has a higher molasses-to-sugar ratio when compared with light brown sugar. Also, even though the flavor is there, don’t forget that brown sugar is a dry ingredient that will affect the final consistency of your cookies.
Maple Syrup is different from molasses as it is made from maple tree sap, while molasses is made from cane or beet sugar. Even though they don’t come from the same source and the process to get them is different, maple syrup will give similar moisture and sweetness to your gingerbread cookies.
You can use 1 cup maple syrup for each 1 cup of molasse asked for on the recipe.
Dark Corn Syrup
Being a combination of corn syrup and a specific type of molasses, Dark Corn Syrup is one of the top three best molasses substitutes for your gingerbread cookies. Using dark corn syrup will help you get gingerbread cookies close to the original in terms of flavor, color, and texture as it is both dark and sweet as molasses.
For your gingerbread cookies, substitute 1 cup of molasses per 1 cup of dark corn syrup.
Granulate Sugar and Water
By combining granulated sugar and water to replace your molasses in gingerbread cookies, you will be adding both sweetness (sugar) and moisture (water) that you would be getting with the original ingredient.
To make a kind of syrup that can better substitute molasses, add 3/4 cup of granulated sugar to 1/4 cup of warm water.
To add more texture, some people add 1 ¼ teaspoon of cream tartar to the sugar and water mixture. I found this unnecessary if you can get a thick syrup-like mix from the granulate sugar and warm water (the warmer the better result you’ll get). Be aware that using this substitution will result in less flavor and less color, so you should increase a little bit your spices to get a result closer to the original.
Honey is a very good substitute for molasses when baking gingerbread cookies, although the flavor will lose that caramel-coffee bitterness and will be replaced by a more floral taste.
In terms of texture alone, honey (which has a thick consistency very close to molasses) will be a better replacement when compared to maple syrup (which is runnier). As happens with other liquid replacements, you can use 1 cup of honey for each 1 cup of molasses asked for in your gingerbread cookies recipe.
If you are trying to replace processed sugars on your baked goods, then applesauce is the answer for your gingerbread cookies. The replacement is a simple one-to-one ratio, but both the flavor and the color of the cookies will be very different.
Maybe consider adding more cinnamon, ground ginger, and all-spice to your dough, so you end up getting a similar taste and color to the original. Always consider that your applesauce gingerbread cookies won’t ever be as sweet as the original ones.
Another good and healthier option is to replace molasses with yogurt. The same thing that happens when using applesauce happens when you are using yogurt as a substitute for molasses. So, the flavor and color won’t be the same, and you should “play around” with your spices. I always start with a one-to-one ratio and adjust if I feel the consistency is not right, as this will depend on the thickness of the yogurt you are using.
What to Consider When Using Molasses Substitutes?
Molasses is a very particular ingredient, and some substitutes will make better gingerbread cookies than others. Even though you can get very similar results with your substitutes, none of them is going to be the real thing. So, there are four things to consider before you use substitutes for baking your gingerbread cookies (or any other baked goods where you use a replacement ingredient instead of molasses).
Molasse has its distinctive flavor which is different from any other sweetener you’ll use as a substitute. It tastes like caramel and coffee. It is, at the same time, sweet and bitter. This means that our gingerbread cookies will taste different anytime we use a molasses substitute in the recipe. So, consider adjusting the spices to get a stronger flavor in our cookies.
The dark color of molasses is hard to match, so your baked goods will most likely look lighter than they would if you were using molasses. Of course, this will depend on which substitute you go for, but the same advice applies here: consider adjusting your spices.
Molasses being a liquid sweetener means that your final product will invariably have a different texture if you go for a solid sweetener substitute (like sugar).
For baking purposes, it is better to use a liquid substitute to get the expected result. You will get chewier gingerbread cookies if you use a liquid substitute, like maple syrup versus if you use a solid substitute, like brown sugar.
No substitute will work the same way as molasses in terms of moisture. This means that you will not get the moisture, density, and fudginess you get with molasses whenever you use a substitute from the list above (or any other for that matter). Same as with the consistency, you will get a result closer to the original result if you go for a wet substitute in alternative to a dry one.
Can You Just Omit Molasses in Cookies?
You can omit molasses in cookies, as we’ve seen above, but you will always need to use a substitute of some kind. I shared with you 7 different ideas that can be used to bake your cookies in case you don’t have or don’t want to use molasses.
You’ll need to consider that the cookies won’t be the same as they would be if made using molasses and that their flavor, color, texture, and moisture can all be affected. However, with some adjustments, you’ll still get a tasty batch of gingerbread cookies.
Molasses Substitute for Gingerbread Cookies
- 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 cup Dark Corn Syrup
- 1 cup Granulate Sugar and Water (3/4 cup of granulated sugar + 1/4 cup of warm water)
- 1 cup Honey
- 1 cup Applesauce
- 1 cup Yogurt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar = 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup maple syrup = 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup dark corn syrup = 1 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar + 1/4 cup of warm water = 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup honey = 1 cup molasses
- 1:1 ratio for an applesauce
- 1:1 ratio for an yogurt