The inspiration for today’s recipe came after I watched a video on the NutritionFacts.org website titled “The Healthiest Sweetener“. The video uses a bar graph to compare 12 different sweeteners including things like white sugar, honey, turbinado sugar, agave nectar, etc. I found it very interesting!
It was no surprise that most sweeteners have almost no health benefit at all. BUT, what was a surprise to me was that there were two sweeteners that DID have some nutritional value. They were represented by two giant bars on the graph, dwarfing all the others. And what were these two sweeteners? Date Sugar and Molasses.
From there I decided that if these two sweeteners have some redeeming value, then I wanted a recipe so I could use them!
And thus was born the Healthier Homemade Molasses Cookie. And it was good.
Updating My Old Molasses Cookie Recipe
For these kind of new recipe situations, I usually don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Instead I usually just go to my recipe box and find something I’ve made before, and try to find new ways to tweak and update it with new ingredients. I dug out my old molasses cookie recipe and proceeded to make some new substitutions that were more plant-based. It took a few batches, and some trial and error, but I’m happy with the version I’m sharing here today. Here are some of the switches I made:
Instead of butter – – > switched to Almond Butter
Instead of white flour – – > switched to White Whole Wheat Flour
Instead of eggs – – > switched to a flax egg replacement
Instead of white sugar – – > switched to Date Sugar
And of course the molasses was already in there, so the molasses gets to stay!
Date Sugar: The Trickiest Substitution
The most challenging change to make is the switch to date sugar. Date sugar is just dried dates ground into a powder which is why it is one of the healthiest sweeteners because the fiber and nutrition remain. However because the fiber remains, date sugar acts more like flour than sugar in a recipe. I’ve learned that once you stir in some date sugar, your dough will immediately thicken up. You’ll suddenly feel like – what the heck happened?? – as you struggle to keep stirring things around. My solution has always been to add some extra liquid to the recipe and I’ve done that with this molasses cookie recipe too. A bit of almond milk has been added to counter-balance the thickening properties of the date sugar.
In fact, I stir all my dry ingredients together first, and then set them aside. Then I stir together all the soft/wet ingredients. Then I gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet. This also helps offset the sudden introduction of date sugar by gradually adding it into a wetter mixture.
Making the Healthier Molasses Cookies
Finally, this cookie dough is a bit stickier and fudgier than a traditional cookie dough. This makes it a little harder to drop onto the cookie sheets for baking. I’ve found it very helpful to use a piece of moist paper toweling to pat the blobs of dough into a cookie shape on the cookie sheet.
I’ve also been in the habit of using my silicone baking sheets with cookies as they really do help to keep things from burning or sticking. However I did bake one batch of these cookies without the silicone sheets, and they still came out very nicely without sticking to the baking sheet.
Enjoy Your Two “Healthier” Sweeteners!
Even if you don’t make all the plant-based switches that I did, you can still give these cookies a try. For instance if you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you could just use white flour.
If you don’t want to do the flax egg replacement, you could just use an egg.
If you don’t have almond milk, you could just use regular milk.
But leaving the date sugar and molasses in the mixture will give you a way to have a go-to recipe for a sweet treat that you can feel a smidge better about because you’ve used the two sweeteners that are the best choices.
Here’s how to do it:
Healthier Homemade Molasses Cookies
- 1 Flax Egg Replacement (1 Tbl Ground Flax Seed + 2-1/2 Tbl Water)
- 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/2 cup Date Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/3 cup Almond Butter
- 1/3 cup Almond Milk
- 3 Tbl Molasses
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Begin by making the Flax Egg Replacement by combining 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 2-1/2 tablespoons of water. Set aside to thicken up slightly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, date sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, the almond milk, the molasses, and vanilla. Then stir in the flax egg.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, Mix until well combined. The dough will be somewhat thick and "fudgey" looking.
- Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Pat the blobs of dough into cookie shapes using a moist piece of paper toweling to keep things from sticking to your fingers.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Then remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before removing cookies from the cookie sheet.