Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
One of everybody’s favorite holiday desserts are homemade gingerbread cookies. The heady scent of a freshly baked gingerbread man will fill your home with nostalgia. The best gingerbread cookie recipe should be filled with lots of sugar and spice to help you to create a family treat that makes the holidays feel special. However, if you get the gingerbread cookie recipe wrong or a few errors occur in the making of these cookies then they could become tasteless and hard. If you are pondering how to produce chewy gingerbread cookies which are soft and maintain their shape after baking, then follow the recipe below.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
The taste of these gingerbread cookies is rich and deep, and they smell wonderful when baking. The dark brown sugar and molasses are obvious in every bite, but not too intense. And of course, they are laden with customary holiday spices such as ginger and ground cinnamon. The texture is just right as they are not soft, but they are not too tough either. You will get a little crunch, but you will find them incredibly moreish with this easy to follow gingerbread cookie recipe.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to be used when rolling out the dough
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together in a large bowl all of the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together and set aside.
- In another bowl cream together the butter and sugar. If you have a stand mixer use this with a paddle attachment. Blend the butter and sugar together on a medium speed to get the butter fluffy which should take a couple of minutes.
- Combine the egg, molasses, and vanilla in another bowl with the blend from the mixer. The butter might seem like it is separating out, however it should come together as the flour gets slowly mixed in thoroughly.
- Add all of the ingredients together in one bowl and combine until the dough becomes thick and sicky.
- Chill the dough in the refrigerator. Patience is key to making the best gingerbread cookie and as most gingerbread doughs can be extremely sticky, it is important to allow it rest for at least an hour in your refrigerator before rolling it out to cut it. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough becomes solid but still supple.
- Preheat the oven and heat to 350°F.
- Scatter a couple of tablespoons of flour onto a rolling pin and over your work surface. Place the dough on the flour and roll to make a flat and even dough around 1/3 inch thick. Turn over the dough continually to avoid the dough from sticking. Brush away any surplus flour from the dough once fully rolled out.
- Once rolled you can cut the gingerbread cookies using cookie cutters to make shapes of your choice. Keep your cookie cutters from sticking by dipping all the edges into flour before you cut into the dough. Move the cut shapes onto lined baking sheets, ensuring that you leave at least an inch between them. Repeat rolling and cutting using the scraps of dough until you have filled up your baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies for around 10 minutes. Switch the baking sheets around halfway through and bake until the edges of the gingerbread cookies look dry and are a little darker than the center of the cookie.
- Once baked leave the gingerbread cookies to cool fully before you start to decorate.
Do not overwork your gingerbread dough. Gingerbread cookies are supposed to be firm, but they have to be tender and not too tough to eat. Too much firmness is a result of the dough being over worked by overmixing the dough, or it can also be a result of the dough be rerolled too much.
You may wish to try making a simple glaze of ¼ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of confectioners’ sugar for decorating gingerbread cookies. It will add a gloss to the finished cookie if you cover them with the glaze before baking.
It is recommended especially when making up large batches of gingerbread cookies that you buy fresh spices if it has been a long time since you baked using them. This is because old spices will make your gingerbread taste less than impressive.
You can break from the traditional gingerbread recipe by adding additional ingredients such as orange zest or other types of essences to enhance and change up the flavor.
Decorating Gingerbread Cookies
Decorate gingerbread cookies in the classic way by using Royal icing. This is easily made at home or you can use a store-bought variety to save you time. It is a plain icing created by combining egg whites, sugar, and water. As soon as it dries it will act like a firm glue which is also great for holding gingerbread houses together too. This icing is really sweet tasting and it will give your cookies a scrumptious crunchy texture to complement the soft cookie texture. You can use this icing to draw simple lines, create smiley faces and create outlines for your gingerbread man. If you are making it from scratch you just need to put it into a piping bag, cup the tip off and enjoy this really easy way for the family to decorate cookies together. When making up the icing you may want to try using liquid or paste food coloring which will give you seasonal coloring to cheer up the icing.
Decorate gingerbread cookies by making use of seasonal candies. There are so many novelty seasonal candies available in stores to help add sparkle to your holiday baking. You can use royal icing to “glue” the candies a wide variety of patterns to the cookies. From hard candies to chocolate ones, there is only imagination that is needed to create festive gingerbread cookies.
Decorate cookies using store bought rubber stamps. Simply wash your rubber stamps with a little soap and water in preparation and then just press the stamps gently into the cookie dough prior to baking. This is a simple and fun way to decorate your gingerbread cookies as you have lots of possibilities when it comes to styles of stamps. They are relatively inexpensive to buy, and you do not just have to stick to seasonal themes either, as simple flowers, hearts or stars can make your cookies appealing too.
Decorate cookies using store bought sprinkles. Adorable and sparkly sprinkles are now much simpler to find in stores at certain times of the year. They come in lots of forms and Christmas sprinkle blends can add a lot to your gingerbread cookies. Press your chosen sprinkles into the cookie dough prior to baking them in the oven. Sprinkles are an easy and enjoyable way to add extra details to cookies with little effort. You may need to experiment with using them as they can sometime melt and give you an unexpected finish.
Storing Gingerbread Cookies
Because of their high fat and sugar content, gingerbread cookies last for quite a while in comparison to some of the other types of holiday cookies. When they have been baked and decorated gingerbread cookies can happily be stored in airtight containers for a couple of weeks. Do remember to layer them up with waxed paper to stop them from getting stuck to one another. When given as gifts they look especially attractive stored in airtight glass jars.
The capacity to freeze cookies is great when you do not have a lot of time to spend baking all day long. By freezing your gingerbread cookies, it also means that you reduce the temptation to eat whole batches of cookies in one go. The cookies will be ready-to-go straight from the freezer for those unexpected holiday guests or when you yourself just want a treat. Freezing gingerbread men ahead of when you wish to eat them means that you can freshly decorate them when you want. All cookies ought to be frozen individually once they have cooled entirely. They can be frozen in layers that are separated by parchment paper and then stored for up to 3 months in an airtight container. When the choice you have is to freeze either cookie dough or baked gingerbread, then it might be advisable to freeze the dough as this will take up less room in the freezer, will be less delicate, and you will be able to still have the scent and taste of just-baked gingerbread cookies.
So, there you have it, an easy to follow gingerbread cookie recipe and some simple tips on how to decorate them just in time for Christmas. They are inexpensive to make, do not take up too much time, and they fill your home with the wonderful scent of gingerbread.