shortening vs butter – soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies

DSCF1631The long awaited chewy ginger cookies from Brian’s Mom!!! My first batch didn’t turn out exactly the same as the one that Emili gave to me, but pretty close. I think pressing down the balls slightly before baking might do the trick. At the end of this post will also be some notes on Shortening Versus Butter. Serious stuff.


from Brian’s Mom!
makes 2 dozen medium cookies
makes 46 Tbsp cookie dough, see below for notes
You need:
1 large bowl
1 or 2 Tbsp cookie scoop
3/4 c shortening (or butter, in a pinch, but not recommended, see below), at room temperature
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c flour, loose
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
about 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, to coat tops of cookies

DSCF1607DSCF1609DSCF1613DSCF1615DSCF1617DSCF1626Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix thoroughly 3/4 c shortening (or butter), 1 c brown sugar, 1 egg and 1/4 c molasses. Stir in 2 1/4 c flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp salt.

Use a cookie scoop and roll dough out into round balls. Dip one side in granulated sugar and place sugar-side-up on a baking sheet. If scooping 1 Tbsp scoops, cookies will spread to be 1 3/4 inch in diameter (small). If scooping 2 Tbsp scoops, cookies will spread to 2 1/2 inch in diameter (medium). Recipe makes 2 dozen medium cookies. Flatten dough balls slightly for flatter (than pictured) cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from baking sheet and place on a cooling rack. Cooled cookies will be chewy on the edges and soft on the insides. Pro tip! While the first batch is baking, prep the rest of the dough in sugar-dipped balls and put back into your mixing bowl. They can be placed directly onto the baking sheets when available.

Butter vs Shortening
I made two batches of these side-by side to compare butter vs shortening. I don’t typically keep shortening on hand, but may start doing so for this recipe! Most taste testers preferred butter-based cookies when fresh out of the oven, but after cooling, the shortening-based cookies took the lead. We found that when the cookies were enjoyed cold, the absence of the butter flavor allowed the spice flavors through. The butter taste was overwhelming. No difference in texture in the two cookies, though the butter-based cookies were visually more “wrinkly” – shortening-based cookies were more uniform visually. In the image directly below, every other cookie is shortening/butter. The ones with fault lines are shortening. The last image here has shortening on the left and butter on the right.


One thought on “shortening vs butter – soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies

  • December 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    coming up: ground ginger vs fresh. refrigerated dough vs not. flattened slightly before baking vs not.


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