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Soft Ginger Cookies

  • author name Stephanie Swavely, RD, CSO, LDN
soft ginger cookies

A recipe specially created for cancer patients by an oncology dietitian at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, to be enjoyed by everyone!

Who says dessert can’t be healthy? Named for the spice known to reduce nausea, this sweet treat is especially beneficial to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Ginger, among the most delicious and healthiest of spices, has long been used to help digestion, reduce nausea, and fight other conditions like the flu and common cold. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can prevent or slow cell damage.

Cinnamon, also listed among the most delicious and healthiest of spices, also contains high amounts of antioxidants that may protect against cancer.

Other ingredients in our ginger cookies have nutritional value as well. Blackstrap molasses, the thickest, darkest form of molasses, has significant amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and selenium.

As with all our desserts, we substitute half the butter with unsweetened applesauce to reduce the amount of fat and calories. We also used raw or turbinado sugar, as a healthier alternative to white processed granulated sugar, since most of the vitamins and minerals in the sugar cane are retained.

These cookies take a bit more time to make since the batter must be chilled then rolled into balls prior to baking. But the sweet crunch of turbinado sugar combined with the ginger and slight tartness of the lemon glaze produces a delightful burst of flavor to cheer up anyone’s day.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Chilling dough in refrigerator: 1 hour
Baking: About 45 minutes to bake 3 batches, one cookie sheet at a time
Total time: 2 ½ hours


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup raw or turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • (½ cup turbinado sugar to coat cookies prior to baking)

*While white whole wheat flour, milled from hard spring wheat, is lighter in color than traditional red whole wheat, it has the same nutritious value as whole wheat flour and gives dough and baked goods a lighter taste and texture.

Lemon Glaze (if desired)

  • ½ cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Stir sugar and lemon juice together until thin enough to glaze cookies.


  1. Beat butter, applesauce and dark brown and turbinado sugars in electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add molasses, egg and vanilla and beat for another minute.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Add these dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and beat for 2 more minutes.
  4. Cover mixing bowl and chill batter for an hour in refrigerator.
  5. When batter is chilled, preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Place ½ cup turbinado sugar in small bowl.
  7. Roll batter into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar to coat.
  8. Place cookie balls on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Place 12 cookies on a sheet to bake at a time.
  9. Flatten cookies slightly by pressing on them gently with the bottom of a drinking glass.
  10. Place cookie sheet on middle rack in oven and bake 14 minutes. Cookies should be crisp on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. Bake longer if you want cookies to be crispier (or gingersnaps)!
  11. If glazing, cool cookies completely and spread about ¾ teaspoon on each cookie. Sprinkle with some lemon zest and cinnamon, if desired. Cookies will stay fresh in airtight container for five days, or freeze unconsumed cookies to enjoy later.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Nutritional Information
One cookie: 71 calories; 2.2g total fat (1.2g saturated, 0.1g polyunsaturated, 0.6g monounsaturated); 74mg sodium; 10.3mg cholesterol; 12.1g carbohydrate; 0.7g fiber; 5.7g sugars; 1.0g protein; 42.4mg potassium.

Note: ¾ teaspoon of glaze will add about 7 calories and 1.7g carbohydrates to one cookie.

author name

Stephanie Swavely, RD, CSO, LDN

Stephanie Swavely, RD, CSO, LDN, is an oncology dietitian and patient navigator at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute.

Education: A graduate of West Chester University with a B.S. in Nutrition, Swavely sits on the Board of Directors of the Central Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Call: 717-544-9400

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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