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A lightly spicy and buttery Gingerbread Cookie that isn’t too bitter isn’t too sweet and is soft all the way through. Perfection.
Gingerbread Cookies are typically nobody’s favorite Christmas cookie. Candy Cane Cookies, yes! Sugar Cookies, give me more! Gingerdoodles, absolutely! But plain gingerbread cookies? Hard pass. When I set out to test this recipe at the beginning of December, it was my goal to create a lightly spicy and buttery gingerbread cookie that wasn’t too bitter, wasn’t too sweet and was soft all the way through because as you know I hate crunchy cookies. Well, this is exactly the kind of cookie I created and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you today.
Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
A lot of typical cookie ingredients are on this list with the addition of molasses and lots of spices included.
- Butter – keeps cookies soft!
- Brown Sugar – an extra level of that sweet molasses flavor!
- Egg – acts as a binder
- Unsulfured Molasses – what makes these cookies brown
- Vanilla – for a hint of that sweet flavor
- All-Purpose Flour – use unbleached all-purpose if you can find it!
- Baking Soda – our leavening agent
- Salt – brings out the sweet flavor with a little hint of salt
- Ground Ginger – it’s called GINGERbread for a reason 😉
- Cinnamon – a lovely, warm spice.
- Cloves – one of my favorite spices, when used in moderation.
- Nutmeg – also a warm spice
What’s the difference between sulfured and un-sulfured molasses?
Sulfured molasses is made from immature green sugarcane that is treated with sulfur fumes during the sugar extracting process. Unsulfured molasses is made from the pure, un-sulfured juice of sun-ripened sugarcane.
How to make Gingerbread Cookies
I use a typical creaming method for these little babies.
- Cream the butter and brown sugar together until well mixed.
- Stir in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Might look a little funky at first but keep stirring! And don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Incorporate all the dry ingredients in until *just* combined. Again, don’t forget to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Chill dough for about 2 hours.
- Roll dough out to be 1/3 of an inch thick and use cookie cutters to get the desired shapes you’d like.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Decorate how you like it!
It’s a little time consuming for sure, but man oh man do they end up being super tasty!
Do I really have to refrigerate the cookie dough?
Usually for any kind of cut-out cookie, if you want them to retain their shape, chilling time is definitely recommended.
If you are in a rush or just impatient (that’s me!) there is a way to do this! After your gingerbread dough is made, immediately roll it out. It will be soft, but as long as you’re careful, it should be fine. Cut out your shapes, place them on their baking sheets and freeze for 3-4 minutes. After that, transfer to the hot oven and bake.
The fast freeze helps the cookies retain their sharper edges instead of getting a rounder, puffier looking cookie.
How thick should I roll out the Gingerbread Cookies?
I suggest rolling your cookie dough out to be about 1/3 inch thick. I find this is a happy medium between cookies that are too thin that will crisp (and burn) easily and cookies that are so thick that they won’t bake entirely.
How do I ensure my cookies stay soft?
Well, I added extra butter and brown sugar to the dough to help with softness, but it really comes down to the baking process. I bake my cookies for about 8 minutes until the cookies look slightly puffed but are not yet crunchy. Then once they have cooled completely, store them in an airtight plastic container or Ziploc bag with a plain piece of bread. That should keep them soft until you’re ready to eat or decorate.
What if I want crunchy Gingerbread cookies?
Easy fix! Just bake them an extra 2-3 minutes longer! The longer you bake them, the crunchier they get. But be careful: too much time in the oven results in dark, bitter-tasting cookies.
Can I use this recipe to make a homemade gingerbread house?
Absolutely! You’ll just have to bake the pieces until crispy to ensure your house is sturdy. Once it’s built, you don’t want it crumbling, so be sure to bake those pieces well.
What can I use to decorate my cookies?
The classic gingerbread cookie icing is royal icing. It hardens quickly and is simple to make. It’s sweet but not very flavorful. For a more delicious option, try plain buttercream. Also, you can use gel food coloring and disposable icing bags to really get those creative juices flowing. Regardless of how they look, just know they will taste delicious!
Like this recipe? Try these other Christmas Cookies:
- Perfect Shortbread
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- June’s Shortbread (jam filled shortbread logs)
- Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix Cookies
- Hazelnut Wreath Cookies
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, vanilla and molasses. Scrape the sides and mix again until mixture is uniform.
- In a separate bowl, whisk remaining dry ingredients together. Slowly incorporate to the butter sugar mixture and stir on low until just combined. Scrape the sides, especially the bottom of the bowl and mix again to ensure an even dough.
- Form dough into large disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll chilled dough out onto floured board to be 1/3rd of an inch thick. Cut different shapes using cookie cutters and place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Bake 7-8 minutes or until lightly puffed without the edges getting dark. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.
- Decorate with royal icing or anything else you desire. Store in air tight containers for up to four days.