These festive Easter Cookies are rich, sweet, soft, and chewy! Thanks to a “secret” ingredient — molasses –they have a deep toffee flavor, with bright pops of sweet milk chocolate and crunchy Cadbury® eggs.
Try some of our other fun Easter treats this year: these Coconut Macaroons (with a free Easter printable), Easter Pretzels, or these Spring Magic Bars.
I couldn’t be more excited to share these oatmeal Easter cookies with you all — they are my favorite oatmeal cookies to date! After creating these Gingersnap Cookies this last year, I knew I had to find another way to incorporate molasses into cookies — it is crazy what that ingredient does to the flavor of cookies! It adds rich caramel and toffee-like notes of flavor and an insane amount of chewiness. I love a good chewy oatmeal cookie with a deep toffee-like flavor, so oatmeal cookies are the perfect place to add molasses.
It’s just a small amount, but you’ll be amazed at what it does for flavor and texture in these Easter Cookies!
Let’s talk molasses
The molasses in these cookies is not overpowering (there isn’t a whole lot of it). Instead of making these cookies taste like molasses, it lends a subtle caramel or toffee-like flavor. The molasses is also the “secret” to keeping the cookies soft and chewy in the center. And, finally, the molasses adds a bit of sweetness to these Easter Cookies.
There are a lot of different molasses choices to pick from at the store that range from lighter molasses to blackstrap. Blackstrap molasses is very intense and a bit off-putting in baked goods. Instead, try dark molasses (also sometimes labeled as “robust” or “full-flavored”). I have tested these cookies with Brer Rabbit® and Grandma’s® and would recommend either — we didn’t find a noticeable difference between the two.
In a pinch, you can use pure maple syrup in place of the molasses in these cookies.
Molasses is thick and sticky! It will stick to the measuring spoon so I do recommend scraping every bit of it out with a spoon to ensure you get the full level tablespoon of molasses in these cookies. To ease that process, spray the measuring spoon with nonstick vegetable spray.
Dark Brown vs. Light Brown Sugar
Beyond the actual molasses in these cookies, we’ve also got dark and light brown sugar which also contain molasses. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, and because of the increased amount of molasses, it has a darker and deeper color with a stronger flavor. Dark brown sugar is slightly more acidic with more moisture. I find dark brown sugar has a more pronounced caramel flavor and a rich sweetness.
While the two can be interchanged in this recipe, these cookies are best with a mixture of both sugars. If you only want to use one type of sugar, I recommend using only dark brown sugar. With all dark brown sugar, these cookies are a bit more crisp and flatter throughout.
Dark brown sugar is sold near the light brown and powdered sugar in the grocery store. The two look similar, yet dark brown sugar is darker overall in color. In a pinch, you can even make your own dark brown sugar.
Easter Cookie Add-ins
Mini Cadbury Eggs® put the “Easter” in these Easter cookies! I used shimmer Cadbury eggs in these specific cookies, but either works great — shimmer or original. Easter M&M’s also work well in these cookies.
And if you don’t want either, replace the Cadbury eggs with equal amounts of chocolate chips.
Another fun idea? Swap out the milk chocolate chips for white chocolate chips.
Chilling the cookie dough
Chilling cookie dough can definitely be an inconvenience. I mean, when you want these Easter Cookies, you want them now, right?! That said, chilling this dough is especially important. It’s like marinating meat; the wait is worth it. Here are a few reasons why we chill the dough:
- The dough becomes more flavorful as it sits.
- For texture reasons, the butter is melted. If the dough is baked immediately with melted butter in it, the cookies will spread and become thin, hard, and crispy while baking. This is because the fat (butter) hasn’t had a chance to re-solidify. The longer the fat stays solid, the less the cookies will spread.
- The sugar and old-fashioned oats in the dough gradually absorb liquid so when you chill the dough, the sugar has a chance to absorb more liquid, and that further prevents spreading.
Easter Cookie Tips
- Don’t substitute ingredients. This cookie recipe has been tested (and re-tested some more!). For best results, follow the recipe carefully using the right ingredients. I know there are some unique ingredients called for, but I recommend waiting to make these cookies with those ingredients instead of trying random substitutes. Baking is finicky — it’s hard to say what will and won’t work out in place of what has been tested.
- Use old-fashioned oats. While it may seem like old-fashioned oats and quick oats can be interchanged, they don’t work the same when baking. Because of their small size, quick oats act more like flour, absorbing more liquid which results in a drier, less flavorful cookie. This recipe relies on old-fashioned oats, and won’t work the same with any other oat type.
- Start with room-temperature ingredients. Using room-temperature eggs ensures that the eggs disperse more evenly into the batter, giving these cookies a better texture (the eggs trap air). Soaking refrigerated eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes is a quick way to get warm eggs. Otherwise, pull the eggs out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before use.
- Spoon and level the flour. When you measure the flour, be sure to spoon and level the measuring cup so you aren’t adding in too much or too little flour. Too much flour yields more cake-like cookies and too little flour and these cookies will be too wet and spread too much.
- Leave ample room on the baking sheet. These cookies are large and do spread a good amount on a cookie sheet! I only bake 6-8 cookies at a time on a standard size cookie sheet.
More Easter fun
- Four simple Easter Treat Ideas
- Easter Cupcakesmade to look like a bird’s nest
- Easter Treatswith free printables
- Rice Krispie Treatsadd pastel sprinkles for a fun Easter treat!
- Strawberry Shortcake Triflewith lemon cake bites
- 8tablespoonsunsalted butter, meltedmelted
- 1/2cup light brown sugarpacked
- 1/4cup dark brown sugarpacked
- 1teaspoonvanilla extract
- 1tablespoonmolassesNote 1
- 1-1/2cupsold-fashioned oats(don’t use quick oats)
- 1/2teaspoon EACH:baking soda, baking powder, fine sea salt
- 1cupall-purpose white flourNote 2
- 3/4cupchocolate chipsNote 3
- 1/2cupmini Cadbury eggsOr Easter M&M’s
MELT BUTTER AND COOL: In a very large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Once melted, set aside cool back to room temperature for 5-10 minutes. It’s important that the butter isn’t hot when you add in the sugar, or it will melt the sugar and make the cookies greasy.
ADD WET INGREDIENTS: Once the butter has cooled to room temperature, stir in the light brown and dark brown sugar. Whisk until well combined, about a good minute of whisking. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and molasses (scrape every bit of molasses out into the dough). Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
ADD DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add in the flour and mix until just combined– don’t overmix. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and Cadbury eggs.
CHILL DOUGH: Cover the bowl tightly and chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
PREHEAT OVEN: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick liner.
ROLL DOUGH BALLS: Roll large balls of dough, a leveled 2 tablespoons in size (40g). You should get about 20-22 cookies from this recipe. Place 6-8 cookie balls on the prepared sheet pan to give the cookies plenty of room to spread. (They spread a lot!) Place the tray back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes (dough gets warmed from being handled).
BAKE: Bake for 9-14 minutes, erring on the side of under-baking. (That keeps them soft and chewy. We like ours right at 10 minutes.) The cookies will continue to bake slightly out of the oven, so take them out as soon as the edges start to lightly brown.
OPTIONAL: MAKE ‘EM PRETTY: Remove tray from the oven and within 1-2 minutes of pulling out the cookies, press a few more chocolate chips onto the tops of the cookies–this ensures even placement of chocolate and also makes them look pretty. Allow cookies to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Repeat, baking the remaining dough balls until all the cookies are baked (see instruction #10).
STORAGE: We like these cookies best on days 1 and 2 of being made. They are the softest and chewiest on day 1 and get more crunchy, less chewy every day after that. They last up to a week, but they begin to lose texture and flavor. To store: Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature. Wait until cookies are completely cooled before adding to the container.
FREEZING DOUGH: While freezing baked cookies works okay (there is some texture loss), I prefer to freeze the dough instead! Place the cookie dough balls on a large sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the frozen balls to an airtight container/bag separated by parchment paper (so they don’t all stick together in one clump); freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: You can bake straight from the freezer; just add 1-3 minutes onto the cooking time. (Or thaw the dough in the fridge and bake according to directions.)
Note 2: If you press a measuring cup into a bag of flour and scoop, you will pack in way too much flour, resulting in the wrong texture of cookie. To accurately measure the flour, spoon the flour into the measuring cup until its overfilled. Then use the back of a table knife to level the measuring cup at the top. (Video visual here).
Note3: Use whatever chocolate chips you prefer. We love milk chocolate, but it makes for a very sweet cookie. Semi-sweet or dark chocolate work great and are less sweet. White chocolate chips can also be used here.
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