These spiced, soft and chewy gingerbread cookies are quick and easy to make, so hand those little helpers the cookie cutters, and let’s get festive!
Decorated with royal icing, these gingerbread cookies are crunchy around the edges and chewy in the center.
The sultry winter evenings are upon us and bring with them the perfect opportunity to snuggle up under the glow of the twinkling Christmas lights on the tree. Have the Christmas tunes gently playing, and pour a large cold glass of milk to compliment the zesty, fragrant, and warming flavor of these gingerbread cookies.
As Christmas fast approaches and panic sets in as we scramble around for those last-minute gifts, rest assured all is not lost! Whip up a few batches of this gingerbread cookie recipe and wrap with cellophane and a cute festive ribbon, or stack in a mug or cookie tin and gift those nearest and dearest.
Every Christmas, my friends and I hold a dessert swap, and every year I bake batches upon batches of any and every type of cookie, and there are never any complaints; cookies are, without fail, a crowd-pleaser. Decorating the cookie is the best part; it is like making a Christmas ornament, and you can really go to town and add your festive flair!
Well, back to the gingerbread cookies or, as my son calls them, “cookie babies.” When the kids’ help, be prepared. IT WILL GET MESSY. Get your kitchen towel, mops, duster, and the whole cleaning crew ready; there will be utter chaos. I kid. Don’t you love their tiny hands helping out? I adore it.
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD COOKIES
- Gingerbread cookies call for warm spices. I use a blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. However, ginger is the main spice for these cookies.
- Once you’ve made the cookie dough, it’s essential to chill it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, and it can be left to chill for up to 2 days. Fold the dough in a cling wrap and allow to rest. Refrigeration helps the dough to hold its shape without spreading once baked. I found out that chilling a little longer, also helps to intensify the taste.
- This gingerbread cookie dough is soft and malleable. Once you cut out the cookie shapes, mold, and re-roll the leftover dough, there is no need to re-chill between rollings.
- I made a massive batch of cookies with different baking times to see which one I like best. 8-11 minutes yielded the perfect gingerbread cookies, Crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the center. Anything past 11 minutes will most likely produce a dry cookie. Depending on how thin or thick you roll the dough, keep an eye on the cookies while they bake because it could get dry quickly if it overbakes. The center should be a little soft but firm to the touch.
- Allow the cookie to cool completely before decorating.
- The recipe below yields over 50 large cookies, so feel free to half the recipe.
- If you are lucky enough to get any leftovers, stack them up in aluminum foil sandwiched with parchment paper, and tightly secured in a ziplock bag or storage container. Freeze for up to two months.
The Best Icing for Decorating the Gingerbread Cookies
I used royal icing to decorate the cookies. There are two different ways to make royal icing with equally good results. One, you can use pasteurized egg whites or meringue powder (substitute for egg whites) together with powdered sugar, water (for meringue powder), lemon juice (egg white). That’s pretty much all you need.
For fear of getting salmonella from raw eggs, most people prefer using pasteurized eggs, whereas others omit the eggs entirely and use meringue powder.
For the royal icing, you’ll need;
- 3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 2 Tablespoons meringue powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-6 Tablespoons water
~ In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder at the lowest speed until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and water. Start with 3 tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the icing becomes fluffy (about 5-6 minutes). Pipe the frosting and decorate.
- Leave the frosting in the mixing bowl and cover with a cling wrap, if you are not using it immediately. Press down the wrap against the surface, so it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, so the icing stays moist. I strongly advise you to use the icing on the same day, or else it will get pretty runny and won’t hold its shape when used for decorating.
- Are you using pasteurized egg whites? Substitute the meringue powder with 4 tablespoons of pasteurized egg, and follow the same directions as above.
- If you decide to use coloring and the icing becomes too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with water, a teaspoon at a time.
So, as you layer up for the weather, and double up on coffees and lattes, don’t forget to stock up on baking pantry items. Let’s get baking.
Are you looking for easy, delicious desserts to wow your guests at your next gathering? Try this apple-pumpkin sheet cake or this velvety classic tiramisu recipe. Don’t forget to pin this easy gingerbread cookie recipe for later. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@worldlytreat), where we share a lot of behind the scene preps.
Do you have a favorite cookie you bake for the holidays? Share with us in the comments below.
To my lovely readers celebrating Christmas, have a safe and joyous celebration!!!
Peace & Love
Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
- stand mixer
- cookie cutter
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks or 16 tablespoons)
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cups molasses
- Sift the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and stir in until well combined.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, reduce the speed and gradually stir in the sifted flour mixture a cup at a time. Add the molasses and continue to mix until smooth. Remove the paddle attachment, then use your clean hands to bring the dough together.
- Divide and shape the dough into 4 equal balls. Pressing down each dough ball into about a ½ inch thickness. Wrap each dough ball in cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap one of the dough balls and roll it on a floured surface until it’s about ¼ of an inch thick. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut out the shapes. Place them, spaced well apart, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8-11 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies until they are a little pale and soft in the center. Remove from the oven and place the gingerbread cookies on a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating. Repeat the steps above with the remaining dough. Mold and re-roll any leftovers.
- see tips in the post for how to make royal icing ( the best frosting for gingerbread cookies)
Slightly adapted from Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri-Print