Fresh Ginger Date Cookies are the perfect cookie for Christmastime, or anytime! Made with fresh ginger, which adds a zingy spiciness to it, along with powdered ginger, lots of dark molasses, and chopped chewy, gooey dates, these cookies have a lot of really interesting flavors happening. They’re coated with turbinado sugar which adds a gorgeous sweet, sparkly coating and a delightfully crunchy texture.
If you’re looking for a unique, easy cookie recipe to add to your repertoire, look no further than these fresh ginger and date cookies. You’ll be surprised at how much flavor can be packed into an innocent little cookie! With the fresh, spicy ginger, chewy and sweet dates, and warm, smoky molasses, these cookies are anything but ordinary.
I like making these year-round, but they’re especially festive around the holidays. I’ve got a batch in my freezer right now just waiting to make an appearance at a Christmas party in a few weeks… and it’s taking all my self control to not dive in and grab one (or four) to much on right now!
These are healthier than many other cookies since they use half the amount of sugar than your average cookie. Yet, they are still delightfully sweet because of the natural sugars in the dates, fresh ginger, and molasses (without being TOO sweet). Not to mention, ginger is really good for you.
I know you’ll love these fresh ginger and date cookies as much as I do. And be sure to check out the video in the recipe card below.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fresh ginger – no substitutes here! It’s essential.
- Powdered ginger – you can substitute this with a little more fresh ginger if you like.
- Dates – I use whole dates and pit and chop them myself – they are gooier and softer than pre-chopped dates (but feel free to use those to save on some prep time). See below for other dried fruit options.
- Turbinado sugar – this is optional, but highly recommended. It’s for rolling the cookies in before baking. Regular sugar can be used instead, or it can be omitted if you like.
- All-Purpose Flour – I’ve also used whole wheat and spelt flour for these with great results for a bit of a healthier outcome. See below for more on this.
- Butter – I use salted, but feel free to use unsalted with a pinch more salt added.
- Molasses – I like Grandma’s original molasses. Don’t use blackstrap, as it’s a bit bitter.
- Baking soda
How to make Fresh Ginger and Date Cookies
In a large bowl, mix together molasses, softened butter, and sugar. Add an egg and mix again. Add some fresh and powdered ginger, baking soda, and salt, and mix. Finally, add flour and mix until just combined. Use a cookie scoop to measure out the dough, and roll in turbinado sugar and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake, cool, and you’re done!
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
What kind of cookie scoop should I use?
I used an OXO medium cookie scoop for this batch you see pictured (about 2 tablespoons). I also like making tiny cookies with an OXO small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons). Whichever size you decide to make is fine, just adjust cooking time as needed.
Can I use whole wheat or spelt flour instead of all-purpose?
To make these cookies a bit healthier, you can substitute whole wheat or spelt flour for the all-purpose. These flours are more dense and will absorb more liquid. so use about 2 tablespoons less for this cookie recipe. The texture and flavor will be different, but these flours work well with such a flavorful cookie!
Can I freeze them?
Yup! I like to flash freeze on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes, then transfer to a zip-top bag.
Can I use other dried fruits besides dates?
If you can’t find dates, I’ve made these with other dried fruits before (apricots, figs, and a combination of both). You can use another kind of dried fruit if you want (I bet golden raisins would be delicious!), or you can omit them. OR, you can add pieces of chocolate! These cookies are flexible… as long as you have the base dough, try mixing in other fun ingredients. You can’t go wrong.
Other favorite holiday cookie recipes
Other fresh ginger recipes
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Fresh Ginger Date Cookies
- ½ cup salted butter (one stick, or unsalted, see notes)
- ½ cup molasses
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger peeled, grated on a microplane zester (from about a 2" piece)
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt (see notes if using unsalted butter)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (see notes for whole grain flour)
- 1 cup dried dates pitted and chopped
- ½ cup turbinado sugar for rolling, more if needed
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or two with parchment paper (if refrigerating dough, wait to do this until just before baking,
- In a large bowl, add the stick of butter (soften in the microwave if necessary), molasses (½ cup), and sugar (½ cup). Mix together with a hand mixer until well combined and fluffy, about 1 minute on high speed.
- Add the egg, mix again for another minute or so.
- Add the grated ginger (2 tablespoons – you can grate it directly into the bowl if you like, the exact amount isn't super important here), ground ginger (1 tablespoon), baking soda (½ teaspoon), and salt (¼ teaspoon). Mix together until well combined.
- Add the all-purpose flour (2 cups) and mix together until just combined. Fold in the chopped dates. For best results and easier rolling, refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes (you can skip this if you're short on time).
- Place the turbinado sugar (½ cup) into a small shallow bowl. Using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons in size), scoop the dough into the sugar and then toss to coat. Place rolled cookie dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet (see video for a visual on how to do this).
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges (adjust time for different size cookies). While the first batch is baking, you can set up the next batch on a second baking sheet if you like. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy!
- A medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons) will yield approximately 24 cookies. You can easily make more, smaller cookies with a small cookie scoop, just be sure to cook for a shorter time,
- For unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon more salt to the recipe.
- You can use other dried fruit in place of or alongside the dates, such as figs, apricots, or golden raisins.
- If using whole wheat or spelt flour, use 2 tablespoons less.
- How to freeze: place the already cooked cookies back on the parchment covered baking sheet after they’ve cooled and place in the freezer for 30 minutes – 1 hour. Then, transfer to a zip-top bag to store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious on December 22, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.