It’s finally Christmas Eve and I’m filled with the holiday spirit! The presents are under the tree and and I’ve got Christmas treats baked and ready to eat.
This is a pretty classic holiday cookie and it’s definitely a favorite to many. Not only do they taste delicious with spices and the molasses flavor, but they look really cute with their little smiles. Gingerbread cookies, you will forever have a place in my heart.
This was actually my first time making gingerbread cookies and I can’t believe how simple it is. I use to look at cookies like these and be a little weary because they look like a bit of skill is needed. But they’re pretty simple and really fun to make. It’s a great holiday activity to do with friends and families and I’m sure the little ones will look decorating them.
On to the actual recipe, gingerbread cookie recipes all start the same. There’s lots of flour for the cookies to keep their shape, molasses and spice for a whole lotta flavor, eggs, butter and sugar. There amounts vary for different recipes but for this one, I added more molasses and more spices. It shouldn’t surprise you that you’re in for an explosion of flavor. Because of the extra molasses, I did add some more flour to help soak it up. I also use a combination of both brown sugar and granulated sugar. The brown sugar adds extra flavor. But I didn’t want the cookies to be super over powering so I added some granulated sugar to balance it out.
Before you start reading the recipe I want to point out a few things. First, the dough can get a bit sticky once everything is beaten together. So it’s an absolute must that it is chilled. I chilled my dough overnight but 3 hours in the refrigerated is enough. It seems like a long time but you want your cookie dough nice and firm and to keep its shape when baking.
It’s easiest to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before chilling. I split my dough in half so I had two discs of cookie dough. This is just to make it easier for rolling latter and helps chill the dough faster.
After chilling, the cookie dough can be rolled out to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Remember to flour your hands, rolling pin and work surface. Don’t be afraid to flour everything because the dough can become sticky as you work with it. The more flour there is, the less likely it’ll stick to your work surface. Then you’ll be trying to pry it off your work surface without ruining the shape of your cutouts.
If you’re worried about the flour that gets on top of the cookie, don’t be. It’ll bake it. When baking them, place the cookies about an inch apart. They won’t spread that much, but you still want to give them enough room. Everyone, even gingerbread men, wants some personal space.
The cookies bake really fast, taking about 9 – 10 minutes, so keep a good eye on them. You’re looking for a little puff and slightly crisp edges and they’re ready to be taken out of the oven. These will give you soft but slightly crispy edged cookies. My cookie cutters are pretty small so some times it took less 7 – 8 minutes to bake. (And because they’re pretty small, I ended up with LOTS of cookies. Like… dozens…) If your using larger cookie cutter, your gingerbread men may take 12 minutes.
I’ve realized that I’ve only been talking about the gingerbread men and have not mentioned the Christmas trees! They’re baked in the exact same way but, we’ve gotta give them some love to right?
Once the cookies are all baked, go decorate with all your heart. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a small pipping tip so I simply cut small holes at the end of my piping bag. I even used zip lock bags for some of them and there is nothing wrong with that. They work just as well.
Mix some food coloring into your icing to have a little more pizzazz!
I love this recipe. The dough comes together easily, it’s jam packed with flavor, the centers a soft, the edges are slightly crisp and they look so cute after being decorated.
One more thing. Although gingerbread cookies have Christmas written all over them, don’t be afraid to make them all year around. Just use some different cookie cutters. I know that I will be.
Have fun baking these cookies!
- 145g Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Granulated Sugar
- 160g Molasses
- 1 large Egg
- 1tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 437g All Purpose Flour
- 1tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2tsp Salt
- 1tbsp + 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1tbsp + 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2tsp +1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1.5tbsp Meringue Powder
- 3 cups sifted Icing Sugar
- 5-6tbsp Water
- Gel Food Coloring – Red and Green
- In a large bowl with a hand held mixer beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses, beating until creamy. Scrap the sides of the bowl as needed. Then beat the egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl to make sure everything has been mixed well.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
- On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The cookie dough will be slightly thick and sticky.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Pat it down to create a disc shape. Chill the discs for at least 3 hours. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
- Preheat the oven to 177 degrees Celsius. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Flour the work surface, your hands and rolling pin. Roll the cookie dough disc to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is gone. Repeat with second disc of dough.
- Bake cookies for 9 – 10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are bigger that 4 inches, bake for about 11 – 12 minutes. If you’re oven has hot spots (mine does), be sure to rotate the pan once when baking.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired when completely cooled.
- In a bowl mix the meringue powder and icing sugar on low speed.
- Slowly add water one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. I mixed mine to a stiff consistency which is ideal for piping.
- Separate the icing into smaller bowl for coloring if desired.
- For the Christmas tree cookies, I made the icing a bit thinner by adding more water. It was a medium consistency which allowed me to flood the outlined area but still hold it’s shape.
- If you are coloring your icing, I recommend using gel food coloring as liquid food coloring does change the consistency of the icing. If using liquid food coloring, add less water as the liquid food coloring will help thin it out.
- For stiff icing – add more icing sugar.
- For thin icing – add more water.