Spread some festive cheer this season with a fresh batch of delicious gingerbread cookies! With soft centers, crispy edges, and homemade icing, they make for the perfect gift for your loved ones. Enjoy them with a cup of hot cocoa or as a sweet treat after a holiday meal!
The holidays are a time for family, friends, and of course, delicious treats! One classic holiday treat that is perfect for sharing are freshly decorated gingerbread cookies. Not only are they tasty, but they're also a fun, festive activity! Bonus: they fill your home with the warm and cozy scent of holiday spices. So roll up your sleeves, turn up the festive music, and let's get baking!
Why You'll Love Them
- Gingerbread cookies are easy to customize. You can use different cookie cutters to make them into different shapes, and you can decorate them with icing, sprinkles, or candy to add your own personal touch.
- They are a great activity to do with family and friends! Making gingerbread cookies can be a fun and festive activity that brings everyone together. It's a great way to bond over a shared love of holiday traditions.
- They make great gifts. Gingerbread cookies are a thoughtful and delicious homemade present that can be given to friends, family, or coworkers. You can package them up in a festive box or tin and add a personalized note for an extra special touch.
While this gingerbread cookie recipe does include the basics (flour, baking soda, an egg...) there are a couple of special additions. Most notably, a full tablespoon of ground ginger. That's right, a FULL tablespoon! To be honest, you could probably add even more ginger, but a tablespoon is the perfect amount to get that extra kick of flavor.
The other major special ingredient? Molasses. It plays a crucial role in making the perfect gingerbread cookies. Be sure to use unsulfured molasses with a light flavor, such as Grandma's Original Gold Standard. In case you opt for Brer Rabbit, choose the mild flavor option to ensure optimal results. Avoid full flavor or blackstrap molasses as they are darker, denser, and much less sweet.
Tips and Tricks
- Chilling: When making gingerbread cookie dough, chilling is key. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or even overnight if you have the time. This will make it easier to roll and cut shapes while also infusing the flavors for a more robust taste.
- Cutting the dough: Avoid frustrating sticking incidents by using parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Lightly flour the surface to ensure that the dough rolls out smoothly and to your desired thickness.
- More chilling: To maintain the intricate designs of your gingerbread cookies, chill the cut-out shapes in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before baking. This will help prevent spreading and ensure even baking.
- Short baking time: When it's time to bake, keep in mind that every oven is different. To avoid burning your cookies, start with the minimum recommended baking time of 8 minutes. Aim for lightly crisped, firm edges, but be careful not to overbake them as gingerbread cookies can quickly become hard.
The Vanilla Icing
No sugar cookie is complete without icing! If you're looking for that glazed, hardened surface with a subtle shine, royal icing is usually the go to. However, as a beginner/occasional baker, I find it difficult and prefer the to fake it with a super easy vanilla icing alternative 🤣. To achieve the "royal icing effect" with vanilla icing, take note of these two tips.
Firstly, add light corn syrup which gives the icing a glossy finish. Do NOT substitute or skip this ingredient. It gives the icing shine!
Secondly, add the liquid gradually, until you reach the desired consistency. Remember to use less liquid at first, as it's easier to add more later.
FAQs About This Recipe
Unsulfured molasses of the light flavor variety. I like to use Grandma's Original Gold standard. See tips and tricks section for more info.
Leftover icing from your gingerbread cookie decorating can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Before using it again, allow the icing to come to room temperature and give it a good stir. If it's too thick, add ¼ teaspoon water at a time and stir until it reaches the right consistency.
If your gingerbread cookies ended up being too hard, they were overbaked. Keep a close eye on the baking time as they can quickly go from perfectly baked to overly crisp. Additionally, be cautious with the amount of flour you add to the dough. Too much flour can also result in harder cookies!