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‘Tis the season! Soft in the center and perfectly spiced, ‘tis the season for old-fashioned cut-out gingerbread cookies. This classic recipe produces a delicious dough that is easy to work with and cookies that are so fun to decorate. It really will feel like the most wonderful time of the year with this holiday favorite.
Nothing smells more like the holidays than the smell of gingerbread wafting from the kitchen. The aromatic spice gives soft gingerbread cookies a bit of a bite and that classic sweet and spicy flavor. Ginger is popular in many holiday recipes from pancakes to cheesecakes.
Pull out your favorite cookie cutters, the ones you save for the best sugar cookie recipe, along with icing and candies for decorating. A batch of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven will not only make your house smell amazing, but you’ll light up the smiles on everyone's faces when they get to help decorate the cookies. Make sure this homemade holiday treats end up on your dessert tray this year.
Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients
- Brown sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Ground ginger
- Ground cloves
- Royal icing
- Candies for decorating
Destined to be a holiday favorite, these soft gingerbread cookies feature all the flavors of Christmas including molasses, vanilla, sugar, and warming spices like ginger and cinnamon. Fresh gingerbread cookies make great treats to share with friends, family, and neighbors. Soft, but sturdy enough to decorate with the kids, these cookies also last for a while. Bake up a batch, wrap them up, and create some holiday cheer.
Chilling the dough is essential for making it easier to handle while you are rolling and cutting it out. It will also keep it from spreading out too much as it bakes in the oven. For the perfect texture make sure that your butter is softened but not melted, and then cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. You’ll love the soft, chewy texture and rich flavor.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
FIRST STEP: Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add molasses and vanilla and mix until completely combined.
SECOND STEP: Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture about ½ cup at a time, adding water in between. Mix until combined.
THIRD STEP: Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour, or overnight.
FOURTH STEP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
FIFTH STEP: Roll dough out on a floured board to ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. Use cutters to cut out shapes.
SIXTH STEP: Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then let cool completely on wire rack.
SEVENTH STEP:Decorate with royal icing and candies.
Roll the dough directly on a piece of parchment paper dusted with confectioners sugar. Cut out shapes and remove the excess dough. Then slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and bake.
Use room temperature softened butter, not melted butter.
When decorating with royal icing, use a #2 or #3 tip. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to your royal icing.
In addition to icing, you could decorate your gingerbread cookies with powdered sugar, red hots, or sprinkles.
Storing this Recipe
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 days.
To freeze, store in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Freeze cookies before decorating.
You can also freeze the dough. Simply thaw the dough and bake later.
- Electric mixer
- ¼ cup butter room temperature
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- royal icing
- candies for decorating
Ingredients for Royal Icing
- 3 tbsp meringue powder
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ¾ cups water
- Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add molasses and vanilla and mix until completely combined.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture about ½ cup at a time, adding water in between. Mix until combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Roll dough out on a floured board to ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. Use cutters to cut out shapes.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then let cool completely on wire rack.
- Decorate with royal icing and candies.
- In a stand mixer, add meringue powder and powdered sugar, then add vanilla and turn the mixer on low.
- Pour in a half cup of water. Turn the mixer on high until it starts to increase in volume, then add a tablespoon of water at a time until the frosting falls from the whisk in a slow stream.
- Place in a piping bag with a small round tip.
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