Chewy vegan molasses cookies sandwiched with a luscious eggnog buttercream in the middle. Perfectly spiced with crackly tops, these vegan sandwich cookies are a holiday favorite!
Thank you Williams-Sonoma Canada for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. The Swiss dot ceramic mixing bowls, Goldtouch® Pro baking sheet with cooling rack, and beautiful double old-fashioned glasses pictured in this post are from Williams-Sonoma Canada.
Pretty crackle tops, chewy centers and a slight crispy exterior covered in glistening sugar, these soft ginger molasses cookies are amazing on their own. But filled with festive eggnog buttercream, they’re sure to be your new favorite vegan Christmas cookie!
Whether you know these traditional holiday spice cookies as soft gingersnap molasses cookies, gingerdoodles, or soft molasses cookies, these perfectly sweet, warmly spiced vegan cookies puff during baking then deflate ever so slightly, creating those pretty crackle tops. The end result are flat cookies which are the perfect thickness to double up for delicious vegan sandwich cookies.
What is Vegan Eggnog Frosting?
This vegan eggnog flavored frosting is a type of ermine frosting which is also known as Heritage frosting, flour frosting, or boiled milk frosting. It’s an old-fashioned buttercream recipe which is much less sweet than traditional American buttercream, and is much smoother and silkier!
First cook the flour, sugar, milk (or in this case, eggnog) and flavor extracts together to create a sweet flour paste, let it cool, and then whip it with softened butter. So easy yet the result is nothing short of magical….perhaps why it’s also known as Magic frosting!
Most American buttercream eggnog recipes only have a tablespoon or so of actual eggnog because adding more would thin out the frosting, making it runny. As such, they don’t taste much like eggnog. By using ermine frosting, we can use a lot more eggnog without having a thin frosting! Plus, cookies are pretty sweet on their own, so ermine (which is a reduced sugar frosting) is the perfect compliment without being achingly sweet! Check out these other vegan ermine frosted treats!
How to Make Vegan Molasses Sandwich Cookies
As we’re making sandwich cookies, there are two components: the cookies and the filling!
Step 1: Make the Vegan Eggnog Filling
Start by whisking together the eggnog, flour, sugar, flavor extracts and nutmeg to create a flour pudding or paste. This mixture needs to simmer for 2 minutes on the stove, and then cool to room temperature before you whip it with the dairy-free butter. If the pudding is still warm, the butter will melt and the frosting won’t set up properly.
Once cool, whip the sweet flour paste with the softened butter. It will be very smooth, a bit like cream cheese frosting, or a thick whipped cream.
Step 2: Make the Vegan Molasses Cookies
This eggless, dairy-free cookie recipe comes together as easily as any other traditional cookie without any obscure ingredients so it’s pantry friendly!
Cream the vegan butter and brown sugar together which incorporates air into the cookies. This helps giving them some lift during baking for a tender cookie, and later results in those pretty crackle tops! Whip in the molasses and dairy-free milk, then add in the dry ingredients. The cookie batter will be slightly sticky and very soft. The next step is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure, as chilling is not absolutely necessary for this vegan cookie recipe but it does make life a bit easier.
Do I Need to Chill the Molasses Cookie Dough?
I’ve tested this recipe both by chilling the cookie dough before baking and not chilling the dough before baking. There are some pros and cons with each method:
Chilling the cookie batter makes the cookie batter easier to scoop and roll into balls. Without chilling time, the dough is a bit sticky as the flour hasn’t had time to hydrate and the butter is very soft from being at room temperature and then further softened from the heat generated during beating. Popping the batter into the fridge for as little as 30 minutes will help it firm up.
The benefits of not chilling the batter are saving time, and I found the vegan spice cookies tended to crackle during baking easier on their own. With the chilled cookie batter, the cookies did crackle but less so. The molasses cookies benefitted from a few quick raps of the cookie sheet on the stove top to deflate them a little and help encourage the crackles to form.
Scoop, Roll, Flatten and Bake!
Whether you choose to chill the cookie batter or not, once you have it ready, scoop and roll the batter into evenly sized balls. I find this easiest to do with a cookie scoop.
Roll the cookie balls in sugar, place them on the prepared baking sheet, press down to flatten each one, and bake! Let the cookies cool completely before filling them so that the buttercream doesn’t melt.
Step 3: Assemble the Vegan Molasses Sandwich Cookies
For decorative sandwich cookies, fill a piping bag fitted with either an open star or round tip with the eggnog frosting and pipe the frosting onto the bottom of one cookie. Leaving a border, pipe in a single layer, creating a swirl – you can start from the middle or the outside edge, whichever you find easiest. Place a second cookie evenly over the frosting, crackle side up. Don’t squeeze down or the frosting will squish out. Repeat with the rest of the cookies and frosting.
Place the cookie sandwiches bake on a tray in a single layer into the refrigerator. If you stack the cookie sandwiches on top of each other before the frosting has set up, it may squish out of the sides of the cookies.
If you don’t have a piping bag or piping tips, you can use a large ziplock type plastic bag. Fill the bag with frosting and snip off a corner so the opening is roughly 1/4-inch (1/2 cm).
Otherwise, you can spread the frosting on with a knife in a pinch!
Tips for Making Vegan Molasses Sandwich Cookies
Use a Cookie Scoop: Since we’re sandwiching the cookies together, they look best when they are all the same size. This recipe yields about 18 – 2″ (5 cm) sandwich cookies if using 1.5 tablespoon (18-19 grams) of cookie batter (or size small cookie scoop), or 9 – 4″ (10 cm) cookie sandwiches if using 3 tablespoons (36-38 grams) of cookie dough (or size medium cookie scoop.)
Use a Cold Baking Tray: If you only have one baking tray, make sure it’s completely cooled between batches of cookies to prevent excess spreading of the next batch, and thus evenly sized cookies.
Don’t Grease Your Baking Tray: A greased baking sheet can cause overspreading and cookies that are too thin. Instead, line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Give Them Space: These cookies spread during baking so make sure each one has about 2″ (5 cm) of space between it and the next one so they don’t end up fusing during baking. Giving the cookies space also encourages even baking. For monster 4″ (10 cm) cookies, give each flattened cookie dough ball 3″ (7.5 cm) of space.
Press Gently and Evenly: We want nice flat cookies for making pretty sandwich cookies. So once the cookies balls are rolled in sugar, place them on the prepared baking sheet and lightly flatten each one with the back of a flat, dry measuring cup.
Don’t Overbake: The cookies should just appear set on the edges when they are ready. The centers will be soft. Keep in mind that the cookies will continue to bake once removed from the oven. Overbaked cookies become hard, and hard cookies make unpleasant sandwich cookies where the filling squishes out the sides before you’ve fully taken the first bite.
Feature Ingredients and Substitutions
We’re adding just enough flour to produce a nice soft, flat cookie. Be sure to measure your flour correctly to prevent any over-measuring which can cause a cakier, drier cookie! If you have a kitchen scale, now is the time to use it. If you don’t have one, fluff your flour with a whisk, then spoon it into your measuring cup. Level off the top with the flat edge of a butter knife.
Switch out the wheat-based flour with an equal amount of 1:1 gluten-free baking mix which contains xanthan gum. I really like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour for easy gluten-free versions of many standard cookie recipes. Avoid gluten-free baking mixes with garbanzo flour as they lend a more bitter, earthy flavor to these small vegan desserts.
For a gluten-free ermine buttercream, you can also substitute all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. The results may not be quite as silky but will be just as delicious!
Use block or brick style vegan butter for these plant-based molasses cookies. The vegan butter available in tubs contains too much water and not enough actual fat for baking – the cookies may overspread and be drier once baked.
Be sure to place your butter out on the counter so that it is softened to cream with the sugar easily, and to blend into the frosting.
The temperature of the butter is especially important when making ermine (or cooked flour frosting.) If it’s too cold, the flour frosting will split and be very difficult to whip. If the butter melts, the ermine frosting will slouch and be greasy.
Brown sugar adds moisture for chewiness and a delightfully soft cookie. I don’t recommend using granulated sugar instead for these molasses cookies.
Molasses provides a deep, rich flavor which we’re accustomed to in this type of soft ginger cookie. It also adds moisture and helps the cookies spread. Take care not to over measure, or your cookies may spread too thin; undermeasuring may prevent them from spreading enough.
There are many types of molasses available, so which type is best in vegan molasses sandwich cookies? I used “Fancy” or a lighter molasses so that the flavor of the cookies does not overwhelm and mute the flavor of the eggnog filling. Darker molasses blends like cooking molasses still work well in this vegan cookie recipe especially if you prefer a stronger molasses flavor.
Avoid blackstrap molasses, however, as it can give a strong, bitter flavor to your cookies.
Be sure to select an unsulphured molasses which is thicker, sweeter, and does not have the chemical taste that sulphured molasses has.
Cornstarch is my go-to egg replacer in vegan cookies. It helps create a chewier center with a light crisp crust, all while lightly binding the cookie dough.
These molasses sandwich cookies are made with a veganized classic molasses cookie except I toned the spices down just a touch. You’ll taste all of the warm flavors from ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, but they don’t overpower the eggnog buttercream.
Sugar for Rolling
Either granulated (white) sugar or a coarse sugar like turbinado sugar work well for rolling the raw cookie balls in. Granulated works well if you prefer a less obvious crunch when biting into the sandwich cookies, but a coarse sugar offers more visually as the cookies look a little more glamorous coated in glittery sugar crystals. If you prefer a smoother cookie, you don’t need to roll the cookies in any sugar at all!
Thank goodness we’re living in an era where you can get just about any of your favorite traditional holidays treats without any eggs or dairy! This rings true for egg-free and dairy-free eggnog – you may see it marketed as “nog” or “holiday nog”. I’ve tried many different brands and have found that they vary a lot in thickness, flavor and sweetness. Use one which you love, as the egg-free eggnog is a defining flavor in the frosting.
Rum or Rum Extract
Traditional eggnog is often served with a bit of rum during the holidays, and so if this is a flavor you remember fondly or enjoy, be sure to add some to the frosting. Rum flavor tends to elevate these cookies, making them a little fancier tasting! You can use either rum extract or actual rum – see the recipe card for suggested amounts.
Make Ahead and Storage Suggestions
These are great little vegan sweet treats to make ahead of time.
Mixing the Cookie Dough in Advance
The cookie dough can be made up to 5 days in advance, kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Let the dough sit on the counter for about 30-60 minutes to soften, then roll, flatten, and bake!
The cookie dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before scooping and baking.
Another option when making the cookie batter ahead of time would be to pre-scoop, roll, and flatten the cookies so they are fully prepped before sealing and storing them in the refrigerator or freezer. If freezing them, do so on a baking tray, and, once frozen, place the cookie pucks into a sealable bag. They will defrost much quicker this way; let them sit on the counter for about 30 minutes so they are thawed and warmed slightly. If the cookie dough is too cold before being baked, they will not spread as much and thus will be thicker cookies.
Baking the Vegan Molasses Cookies in Advance
If you’re baking the cookies ahead of time, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. If you stack them on top of each other at room temperature, they may stick to each other, ruining their pretty crackle tops.
Stored in a single layer at room temperature, the molasses cookies will stay soft and chewy for 5 days, if they stick around that long!
Making the Vegan Eggnog Frosting in Advance
The eggnog frosting can be placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Bring it to room temperature and rewhip before frosting the sandwich cookies.
Storing the Vegan Molasses Sandwich Cookies
Once assembled with the vegan eggnog icing, these vegan cookie sandwich keep well in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about 5-7 days (the refrigerator is safest because of the higher moisture content in the frosting compared with American buttercream.) Let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving if you like the frosting to be softer. Otherwise, these vegan cookie sammies are amazing chilled!
They can be frozen in an airtight container for about 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
More Vegan Cookie and Cookie Bar Recipes
Chewy Strawberries & Cream Cookies
Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks Copycat!)
If you make these Vegan Chewy Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Whipped Eggnog Frosting, please give them a rating in the recipe card and leave a comment below! Follow along on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes! You can also follow me on Pinterest for vegan recipe inspiration and on Facebook. Thank you for reading!
Vegan Chewy Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Eggnog Frosting
Vegan Whipped Eggnog Frosting
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour (see notes for gluten-free option)
- ⅔ cup vegan eggnog
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛-¼ tsp rum extract, if desired (or 1 tbsp [15 ml] rum)
- ⅛-¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅔ cup vegan butter, brick or stick style, room temperature (not tub style)
Vegan Molasses Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled if not weighing (see notes for gluten-free option)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine salt
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup vegan butter, brick or stick style, room temperature (not tub style)
- ¼ cup fancy or cooking/baking molasses (not blackstrap or sulphured)
- 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, for rolling (or coarse sugar for a crunchier, glittery cookie exterior)
Vegan Whipped Eggnog Frosting
- Add the flour and sugar to a small bowl. Whisking constantly, pour in the eggnog. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a small pot, pressing any lumps through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Whisking constantly, heat over medium-low. Once the mixture thickens and is bubbling, cook another 2 minutes, continuing to whisk. Ensure the mixture continues to bubble for the whole time or the frosting will taste like flour and will not thicken properly. Whisk in the vanilla, rum and nutmeg.
- Pour the flour mixture into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly over the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely to room temperature – it will have a thin pudding or caramel consistency.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, (or in a stand-mixer with whisk attachment), beat the vegan butter on high for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary. Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually spoon in the cooled flour mixture. Once it’s all added, beat on high for about 5 minutes or until light, fluffy and silky. Taste to see if you’d like to add the additional nutmeg and rum extract (or rum). If adding, beat the frosting for 3 more minutes after the addition. See Notes below for trouble shooting.
Vegan Molasses Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C/gas 4. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl with a hand-mixer (or stand-mixer bowl with paddle attachment), beat the brown sugar and vegan butter together on medium speed until combined and fluffy. Add in the molasses, milk and vanilla, beating until well mixed. Add in the flour mixture and beat at a low speed until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes – this helps the dough be less sticky. However, the dough can be baked straight away if you're short on time and don't mind working with sticky dough.
- Place the sugar in a small bowl. Scoop the dough into evenly sized 1.5 tablespoon pieces (it's easiest to use a small cookie scoop). Making them the same size results in symmetrical sandwich cookies later. For those using a kitchen scale, each cookie will be 18-19 grams. Roll the cookie dough into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and then roll each ball in the sugar. If your dough is sticky, sprinkle the sugar over the cookie ball then roll it. See the Notes below on making extra large sandwich cookies.
- Place the cookie balls on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Slightly flatten the tops of each cookie dough ball with the back of a clean, dry measuring cup. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are just set – DO NOT OVERBAKE. The cookies will continue to cook once removed from the oven. Remove from the oven. If the cookies don't have crackles, let the cookie tray drop from about an inch (2.5 cm) above a heat safe surface. Repeat 2-3 times then let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the tray. Remove from the tray and continue to cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
To Assemble the Molasses Sandwich Cookies:
- Fill a piping bag fitted with either an open star or round tip with the eggnog frosting and pipe the frosting onto the bottom of one cookie. Pipe in a single layer, creating a swirl – you can start from the middle or the outside edge, whichever you find easiest. Place a second cookie evenly over the frosting, crackle side up. Don't squeeze down or the frosting will squish out. Repeat with the rest of the cookies and frosting. Place the cookie sandwiches on a tray in a single layer into the refrigerator. If you stack the cookie sandwiches on top of each other before the frosting has set up, it may squish out of the sides of the cookies. The frosting will firm up once chilled.Let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving if you like the frosting to be softer. Otherwise, these vegan cookie sammies are amazing chilled!
The Nutrition Information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the Nutrition Information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.
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