The Washington Post

Burnt Sugar Ginger Cookies

Burnt Sugar Ginger Cookies 70.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2018 Nov 29, 2018

A little bit of extra work — first making a gingery, deep amber caramel that hardens into candy — sets these chewy cookies apart from your standard ginger or molasses holiday cookie.

TIP: For easy peeling of the ginger root, scrape off the skin with a spoon.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Holiday Cookie Generator, featuring more than 300 recipes to suit any taste.

Make Ahead: The ginger caramel candy can be done days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

70 cookies

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 70 cookies

  • For the burnt sugar ginger
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated ginger root (from a 1 1/2-to-2-inch piece; see headnote)
  • For the cookies
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated ginger root (from a 1 1/2-to-2-inch piece)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sparkling or sanding sugar (may substitute demerara sugar)


For the burnt sugar ginger: Grease a rimmed baking sheet with cooking oil spray.

Pour the sugar into a small, heavy saucepan (off the heat). Add the fresh ginger and work it into the sugar with your fingers.

Melt the mixture over medium-high heat, without stirring, for about 8 minutes until it is a dark golden brown. Watch closely to make sure it does not burn, reducing the heat as needed. Pour it onto the baking sheet, quickly spreading it evenly. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it hardens and cools completely. Then turn it out onto a cutting board and break it up into 1/2-inch pieces.

For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Combine the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until quite fluffy. Reduce the speed to low; add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully blended before adding the next. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the molasses and fresh ginger; beat on low speed for 1 minute, or until thoroughly incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Whisk together the all-purpose and bread flours, the ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a separate bowl, then add to the butter molasses mixture, stirring until mostly combined with a few streaks of flour. The dough will be quite thick. Add the burnt sugar ginger shards, stirring until evenly distributed. No streaks of flour should remain.

Place the sparkling or sanding sugar in a medium bowl. Roll 2-tablespoon portions of dough into balls, then roll each one in the sugar, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets as you work. Bake (middle rack) one sheet at a time, for 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet before serving or storing.

Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Cookie Book: Decadent Bites for Every Occasion," by Rebecca Firth (Page Street Publishing, 2018).

Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh and Stephanie Zarpas .

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per cookie: 100

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 3g 5%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 10mg 3%

Sodium: 70mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates: 18g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 12g

Protein: 1g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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