Orange Spice Molasses Cookies

Orange Spice Molasses Cookies

25 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2009

These spiced molasses cookies have added applesauce to help keep the cookies moist, and whole-wheat flour and oats to incorporate whole grains.

Ingredients 40 servings

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Original recipe yields 40 servings
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  • Rolling Sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • Cookie Dough
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ cup light or dark molasses
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups whole-wheat flour


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  2. To prepare the rolling sugar: Pulse ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest in a food processor until well combined. Place in a shallow dish and set aside.
  3. To prepare cookie dough: Grind oats in a blender until they look like a fine powder, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Beat butter and ⅓ cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons orange zest and beat another 2 minutes. Add molasses, applesauce, egg yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt; beat on medium-high until incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer to medium and slowly add the ground oats. Scrape down the bowl; with the mixer on medium, slowly add whole-wheat flour. (The dough will be moderately sticky.)
  6. Using a slightly rounded tablespoon of dough, roll into balls, then roll in the rolling sugar to coat. (If necessary, wet your fingers to help roll without sticking.) The zest will make the mixture slightly wet and it will clump; lightly brush off the excess so that just a thin coat is on the cookie. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake the cookies in batches until the edges are set and the tops are cracked, but the centers are still soft and puffy, about 10 minutes.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 8 minutes. Serve warm or cool on a wire rack.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Per serving: 85 calories; 2 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 16 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 mcg folate; 8 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 8 g added sugars; 53 IU vitamin A; 1 mg vitamin C; 13 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 49 mg sodium; 77 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: ½ starch, ½ other carbohydrate

Reviews 25

May 27, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
good concept I would try these cookies again but I would not bake at 375, my first batch was a little burnt on the bottom . The second batch I turned the oven down to 350 and they were golden brown. Also, I couldn't really taste the molasses and brown sugar. Next time I'll try it without the rolled oats and tweak the wet ingredients to see how that tastes. Pros: very soft and chewy. I liked the orange zest sugar. Cons: first batch slightly burned on bottom I've had better molasses cookies
December 11, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
YUM, what else to say? After I assembled all the ingredients, I thought I may regret my endeavor but the steps and time was sooo worth it! Truth be told, I'm no health nut especially when it comes to desserts but I've been known to sub applesauce for oil and I try to generally make good food decisions but never deny an indulgence. So what a surprise to have made some seriously tasty and just plain cute cookies with whole wheat flour no less! Unfortunately I completely underestimated my giant orange being enough for the required zest so I had to skimp on that. I ended up with maybe a couple teaspoons. That being said, I'd shoot for one teaspoons in the rolling sugar and a heaping tablespoon in the dough. I used a small scooper to measure the dough and got about 54 cookies. I generally prefer a chewier cookie and these are quite cakey but no matter. I will be making these again and will (maybe) share. Such a sweet treat with tea or coffee. Pros: Flavorful, cute Cons: Time consuming
November 05, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
These were delicious, and I love the orange sugar.
December 16, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
A Holiday Mainstay Made exactly as written. Wore disposable gloves to roll into balls and then into orange-zest sugar. Made it super easy. Placed onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Cleanup was a breeze. My husband liked the subtle fresh hint of orange and the light fluffiness of the cookie (I.e. not a heavy cookie).
December 04, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Beautiful, delicious, and not bad for you, can you beat it? These cookies are soft and sweet (though not too sweet) and a little spicy (but not hot spicy) -- I totally love them. I am a very reluctant baker, but am also very sensitive and aware of the guilt that I get from my kids and husband about not being into baking. I mean, there's the time and the mess and the effort, and then I can't even really enjoy the product usually, because I am ever vigilant about eating well. Needless to say, I am willing to make (and eat) these cookies, though usually only around Christmas time, which is the only time that I bake anything. Take it from a lazy baker and obsessively healthy eater, these cookies are winners. Pros: See title
December 03, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
FANTASTIC!!!! I would definitely recommend making these cookies to anyone. They are fantastic!! If you cook them properly, they are moist and tender. The flavor is great!!!
April 14, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Not the Best Molasses Cookie out there... I've had much better tasting molasses cookies. Maybe its all the pulverized oatmeal diluting the flavor, or not enough spice flavor, but to me, these were kind of bland. Even with the orange zest in the dough and in the rolling sugar. They were extremely hard to roll, I put the bowl in the fridge overnight and once hardened they were a little easier to roll. But all in all, I won't make these again. There are much better tasting and easier-to-make recipes. Pros: slightly healthier, look pretty Cons: dough is too hard to work with, too time consuming
January 21, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Needs a little less cloves and I only used about 1 tbs of zest. I also used Stevia instead of granulated sugar and did not roll the cookies in anything. Wonderful!
August 01, 2011
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By: aquakej
Very flavorful Wow, these are almost too flavorful! I think I could have definitely used less cloves and allspice.....but they are still tasty and it's nice that they are moderately healthy. I did leave the black pepper out already.....just seemed like a scary cookie ingredient for me.
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