7 Recipes Baking Holiday Sweets With Leftover Molasses

If pumpkin is the flavor of fall, gingerbread and peppermint are undoubtedly the flavors of winter, especially the holiday season. It only takes a few glances at a cooking magazine or a few steps into your neighborhood coffee shop to realize that at this time of year, everything is gingerbread- or peppermint-flavored, and that means jars of molasses and peppermint extract are hot commodities at grocery stores everywhere.

Gingerbread is a classic holiday taste because the flavor has been around for so long, and it also is known for its ability to be enlisted in a wide variety of treats. Gingerbread can be found in the form of cookies, cakes, brownies, lattes, and more, and aside from the spices, one ingredient that is is necessary to attain that quintessential taste is molasses. There’s no way around it in gingerbread recipes: You must have molasses at the ready and must also be willing to buy it with the understanding that you’re probably only going to need a small amount from the whole jar.

This year, instead of making one gingerbread recipe and then retiring your jar to the fridge or cabinet until next December, make a number of different treats that can use up all of the sweet syrup. Here are seven recipes that will serve you right this Christmas. We’ll start off with the familiar molasses-flavored formulas and then end with some recipes that may be new to you. Luckily, young or old, these recipes all have one thing in common — they yield a delicious sweet treat.

Source: iStock

1. Tradtional Gingerbread

Here’s a traditional gingerbread recipe from Martha Stewart that would make your grandmother proud. Serve your kids this treat on December 25 and appease all members of your family. As long as you have molasses, fresh ginger, powdered sugar, and a handful of other baking staples, you’re good to go.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup light molasses
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup firmly packed minced fresh ginger
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the lower third of oven. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper, then spray the paper. Dust the entire pan with flour and shake out the excess. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Dissolve baking soda in the cup of boiling water. Fold the baking soda and molasses mixtures into dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the minced ginger.

Scrape batter into the prepared baking pan; bake until cake is set around edges and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.

Source: iStock

2. Gingerbread Cookies

After you’re finished baking your bread, leave out that jar of molasses, because you’re going to need it for these fun, kid-friendly cookies. Decorating gingerbread cookies is a classic holiday tradition that you shouldn’t let fall by the wayside. Follow this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and make sure your kids get a taste of the magic. These cookies are simple, sweet, and taste nostalgic. Ree also provides a royal icing recipe for your creative cookie decorators.

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup margarine or softened butter
  • 1½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon maple extract

Icing

  • 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 2 whole large egg whites
  • Decorations

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Drizzle in the molasses, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure it’s evenly combined. Add the eggs and maple extract and mix. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each addition.

Chill dough if time.

Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When the dough is soft enough to roll but still firm, divide it in half and roll out each half between two sheets of plastic wrap. Cut out shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of cutters used, until the cookies are baked through but still soft.

Source: iStock

3. Gingerbread Molasses Smoothie

If you’ve made the two aforementioned recipes but still want to use up your excess molasses in a healthy way, try Nutrition Stripped’s formula for a Gingerbread Molasses Smoothie. Drinking your favorite holiday flavor can be good for you! Gather your molasses, chia seeds, spices, almond milk, and fruit, and get mixing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 fresh pear
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ scoop protein powder of choice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract
  • Handful of ice cubes, as needed

Directions: Soak the chia seeds in the almond milk for at least 20 minutes to allow them to absorb the liquid and become like a gel.

Blend all ingredients except the garnish cookies into a high-speed blender until thick and creamy. Add ice in as needed to your desired texture.

Source: iStock

4. Old-Fashioned Molasses Candy

Don’t forget the candy potential that molasses can live up to. Molasses candy doesn’t have to remind you of the sticky wrappers you find at the bottom of Grandma’s purse — it can actually be made fresh in your own kitchen and teach you a lesson in the magic of homemade molasses candy. Taste of Home has a fun and foolproof formula for the ultra-sweet treats, and it only contains 6 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Directions: Grease a 15-by-10-by-1-inch pan with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium; cook until a candy thermometer reads 245 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally.

Add molasses and remaining butter. Cook, uncovered, until a candy thermometer reads 260 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add baking soda; beat well. Pour into prepared pan. Let stand for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Butter fingers; quickly pull candy until firm by pliable (color will be light tan). When candy is ready for cutting, pull into a ½-inch rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Source: iStock

5. Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake

This recipe for Dark Gingerbread Pear Cake, highlighted by Epicurious and developed by Maggie Ruggiero, is a good weapon to have in your recipe toolbox. It not only enlists molasses but also can be served at all times of the year, thanks to its fun and versatile fruit component. While gingerbread cookies are typically only baked in the winter, this Gingerbread Pear Cake can be eaten year-round.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup grated peeled ginger
  • 1 pear

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Melt butter with water.

Beat together brown sugar and molasses with an electric mixer until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in flour mixture at low speed until just combined. Add butter mixture and ginger, beating just until smooth. Pour into cake pan.

Peel pear and cut into ¾-inch pieces. Scatter over batter. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly.

Source: iStock

6. Gingerdoodles

Here’s another gingerbread cookie recipe with a twist that makes it more acceptable to bake at all times of the year. Enter: Gingerdoodles from Lauren’s LatestThis dessert isn’t as traditional as the first two recipes on our list, but it is still fun and crowd-pleasing — no one will say no to a little more cinnamon and sugar.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, for rolling

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, vanilla, and molasses. Whip 1 to 2 minutes or until it turns a light brown color. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix until dry ingredients are just combined.

Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and coat in granulated sugar. Place on silicone baking mat, lightly greased cookie sheet, or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until outside looks cooked but inside is still soft and gooey. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet.

Source: iStock

7. Apple Molasses Spice Cake

Lastly, a molasses recipe that doesn’t enlist ginger at all. This Apple-Molasses Spice Cake from Real Simple is sweetened by molasses, along with brown and white sugar, but doesn’t have the traditional Christmas flavor. Instead, the dessert can be made in the fall, winter, spring, or summer thanks to its versatile ingredients. What’s more, it uses up a whole ½ cup of molasses, which will help to make a dent in your jar.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Granny Smith apples: peeled, cored, and cut into½-inch pieces
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a parchment circle, oil again, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, molasses, brown sugar, egg, ginger, and ½ cup boiling water. Add to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the apples.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Before serving, dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

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