Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Once upon a time, long long ago, I would take a few days off of work to work. I spent those few days in the kitchen making a crazy amount of homemade scratch gingerbread cookies. My gingerbread cookies recipe was not my own, to begin with. The first was very dry and brittle. Butter became my friend in the process, but it also added a challenge or two.

Incidentally, I am not talking about the typical holiday gingerbread men cookies, instead, I am suggesting that each and every gingerbread cookie was a work of art. I was a little sassy with my gingerbread men. They appeared anatomically interesting, as did the gingerbread ladies.

cutting gingerbread men from gingerbread cookie dough

Cheers to gingerbread men, and ladies.

My team, family, and best friends, grew to expect me to do this single act of insanity each and every year. Each and every year I got better at this as I came up with new ideas, new motifs, and new ingredients to make this a real show for everyone on my "nice" list.

I used a number of recipes until I became really comfortable with making this recipe.

By the way, using a gas oven vs. the electric oven in the apartment where I lived made a difference in the amount of time I baked each tin. It took me quite a while to get used to the rolling pin and get consistent with the thickness of each cookie. Consistency is king, or queen when it comes to baking.

gingerbread cookies with white royal icing decoration

Make this gingerbread cookies recipe yours

We always encourage you to play with our recipes and make them your own. This gingerbread cookie recipe was created by me over a number of years. You may not need as much flour, or you may experiment with your flours or cut back on an ingredient or two. It's all good.

cutting gingerbread cookie men

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Add a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest to the batter.
  • Blend in finely chopped nuts. Pecans would be so interesting.
  • Punch a hole at the top of these cookies prior to baking so that you can turn them into ornaments
  • Have a selection of sugar pearls handy to fancy up the decoration.
  • Serve them with our dairy-free Eggnog
stack of iced gingerbread cookies

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper until well blended.
mixing gingerbread cookie dough
  • In a large mixing bowl beat softened butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.
  • Add molasses, honey, and vanilla mix until well blended.
mixing molasses into gingerbread cookie dough
  • Gradually mix in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
  • Divide dough in quarters and wrap each quarter in plastic and let stand at room temperature for a few hours, then refrigerate.
  • You can keep this dough in the refrigerator for a few days.
  • When you go to roll out your cookies, bring dough to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Prepare baking sheets by lining with Silpat mats or parchment
  • Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface
  • Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin
rolling pin and gingerbread cookie dough on countertop
  • Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick
  • Cut out cookies with desired cutter
  • Space cookies 2-inches apart
  • Bake 1 sheet at a time for 6-9 minutes (test your oven)
  • Remove cookies from the oven, allow to stand. Transfer to wire rack.
  • When cool decorate with royal icing, sugar pearls, sprinkles and anything else you find interesting and festive for the holiday!
stack of iced gingerbread cookies

Something really fun to note: I shopped for cookie-cutters everywhere and over the years I collected such a wonderful and dynamic set of them and it made my cookie-making days more fun.

How do you decorate gingerbread cookies?

There are many ways to decorate gingerbread cookies, but my very favorite is with royal icing. There are lots of recipes for royal icing available online it's largely powdered sugar, water, and either pasteurized egg whites or powdered egg whites. You can add vanilla or lemon juice to add a little flavor to the icing but the trick is making sure that your bowl and mixer is 100% clean. I do this by wiping everything down with lemon juice before I start. If it's humid you will need less water, if it's really dry you'll need more. The trick is getting it really stiff so that you can make beautiful lines. I have also found that sugar pearls add a great shimmer to my gingerbread cookie designs. Tiny cinnamon candies and sprinkles are also fun to use. The best advice I have is to experiment and write down (and photograph) your favorites.

How do you roll out gingerbread cookie dough?

Practice makes perfect when you are rolling out gingerbread cookie dough. In the last five years or so tools have been invented to help with all dough rolling. The best thing that I ever bought was a nonstick pastry mat. Google it to see what it is. It helps you with the size and shape of the dough. Now for the rolling pin. I found that using a marble rolling pin that I keep in the freezer between batches helps with dough that contains a lot of butter. There are also adjustable rolling pins today that will help you stay consistent with your dough thickness. Visit your favorite kitchen store to find tools today to help with cookie making.