The most popular Christmas recipe ever — Gingerbread Cookies! Lightly crispy, yet nice and soft and spiced to perfection. Whip up a few batches of these easy Gingerbread cookies and gather up the kiddies to decorate on Christmas morning!
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Easy Gingerbread Cookies
Lookie, lookie, I made gingerbread cookies! It’s with no doubt that when people think “Christmas cookies” classic gingerbread cookies come to mind! I had planned on making gingerbread cookies for the blog this year, but decided to push it to next year since I already had so many holiday baking recipe ideas on my list.
However, a kind reader on Instagram asked me if I had planned on making gingerbread cookies this year. Since I do all of this for YOU GUYS, I decided to go ahead and share my gingerbread cookie recipe on the blog today!
What’s in These Gingerbread Cookies?
If you’re intimidated by homemade gingerbread cookies, don’t be! The dough is quite simple to make, and we only need a few standard ingredients:
- Baking soda
- Brown sugar
You may even have most of these ingredients on hand! Now let’s make some gingerbread cookies!
How to Make Gingerbread Cookie Dough
- Cream the butter and sugar until it lightens in colour. I like using a stand mixer become it does all the work for me, but a hand mixer will work too.
- Add the molasses, egg and vanilla, one at a time. The molasses and vanilla add plenty of flavour and the egg adds structure.
- Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and gingerbread spices which are ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice!
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until everything is incorporated.
Four simple steps! From there, simply bring all the dough together, then cut it into two equal halves. Pat each half into a 1/4-inch thick disk, then wrap and refrigerate. We’ve use this same process when making pie crusts.
Roll Out the Dough and Cut Out Your Shapes
Once the dough is chilled, it’ll be a lot easier to handle. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick, you may need to sprinkle extra flour onto the dough as you go so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin.
It’s time to cut out your shapes! Everyone knows that the most iconic shape for gingerbread cookies is a gingerbread man! But there are plenty of other shapes you can make! Snowmen, Christmas Trees, Star, Candy Cane, Snowflakes and more!
This will make decorating even more fun, because it allows you to be even more creative with your designs!
Baking the Cookies
I’ve tested a few baking times with this recipe and 7-8 minutes seems to be the perfect time. However, this time will be different depending on the size of your cutouts.
My biggest cookie cutter was 3-inches long, so those cookies took about 7-8 minutes, while my other batch of cookies that were cut out with a 2-inch cutter, only took 6 minutes total.
So if you plan on using different sized cookie cutters, bake the small cookies together, the medium cookies together and the large. This will ensure all your cookies bake up evenly.
Easy Decorating Icing
Guess what? You don’t need to buy of make royal icing to decorate these cookies. With 3 simple ingredients, you can make your own easy decorating icing!
Add some powdered sugar to a medium bowl, then stir in a few tablespoons of milk until you get a smooth paste, along with some vanilla for flavour. Start with a little bit of milk, then add more a tablespoon at a time, as needed.
You don’t want the icing to bee too thick that you can barely pipe it, but you also don’t want it to be so thin that your designs don’t hold their shape.
Time to Decorate!
Here comes the fun part — decorating! If you don’t want to use plain white frosting, you can divide the frosting between different bowls and tint them the colours you want.
To decorate the cookies, I used the Wilton #4 tip. This is the tip used for writing on cakes, so it’s very small. This will allow you to pipe more details on your cookies.
The classic gingerbread man design is a smiley face along with lines on the arm and legs and 3 buttons down the middle. You could remix this design by piping on a bowtie, making a dress for a gingerbread woman, using sprinkles etc.
Make it a fun Christmas Eve activity where everyone can come up with their own unique creations! Also, a little trick I learned? Turn your gingerbread man cookies upside down and they become reindeer cookies!
How to Package Gingerbread Cookies for Gifting
This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you may want to package some up and giveaway as gift bags! Grab a clear treat bag and line the cookies up behind each other or have some peeking out like the example below.
Tie it up with a ribbon, then use the inside of a pair of scissors and run it over the underside of the ribbon to create those beautiful curls!
Did you make these Gingerbread Cookies? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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Let’s get baking!
- 3 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Easy Decorating Icing:
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Making the Dough:
- In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Whisk to combine, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add molasses and continue to beat until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla. Mix on low speed until egg is incorporated. Mixture may be a bit separated, this is normal.
- Add the dry ingredients mixture, then mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated.
- Scoop all the dough out and press it all together. Divide the dough into 2 equal halves and place one half onto a sheet of plastic wrap.
- Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch disk and wrap well. Repeat with the second half. Refrigerate both disks for 2-3 hours or overnight.
Baking the Cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Set aside.
- Remove one disk from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a floured work surface. Lightly flour the disk and your rolling pin.
- Gently roll the dough out until it’s 1/4-inch thick. Using the cookie cutters of your choice, cut out as much shapes as you can. Cut them close together so you can get a lot out of the first roll.
- Place the shapes onto the lined baking sheet, spacing them 1-inch apart. It’s best to bake cookies that are the same size together. Don’t bake large cookies and small cookies at the same time.
- Gather all the scraps and re-roll to cut out more shapes. Repeat with the second disk.
- The baking time depends on the size of your cookie cutters. My larger cookies were 3-inches, so those cookies took 7-8 minutes to bake. My 2 inch cookies took 5-6 minutes to bake. Add 1-2 minutes if your cookies are larger. Turn the cookie sheet at the halfway mark so the cookies can bake evenly.
- Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Easy Decorating Icing:
- Add powdered sugar to a medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla and stir to combine.
- Add an extra tablespoon of milk if needed. It may take a little time to completely come together, so wait a while before adding more milk. You don’t want the icing to be too thin. It’ll form a thick paste.
- If you want different colours of icing, divide the frosting between bowls and tint each bowl whatever colour you desire.
- Scoop frosting into a disposable piping bag fitted with a small writing tip (I used Wilton #4). Decorate the cookies as you like (see above for examples!). Enjoy!
1. Cookies can be decorated with candies and sprinkles. Get creative!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Ateco 4712 Disposable Decorating Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters 3-Piece Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter Set with Recipe Booklet, 2.9", 3.75", 5"
Farberware Classic Wood Rolling Pin
Silpat Premium Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8" x 16-1/2"
Wilton 15 x 21-Inch 2105-0109 Perfect Results Non-Stick Mega Large Cookie Pan
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
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