Gingerbread Cookies

It turns out that my mom was definitely right when she told me as a child that my tastes would change over time.  I remember as a kid thinking gingerbread cookies looked absolutely delicious – and then I tasted one, and absolutely hated it.  Maybe it was just different than what I was expecting, or the flavors were a bit strong for me then, but I’ve steered clear of them ever since.  Then this past weekend, I had my yearly baking marathon for holiday goody packages and decided to give gingerbread a second chance, mainly because I thought they would help round out the packages and keep well for the ones being shipped off to friends and family.

I am so, so glad I tried these because they might just be my new favorite holiday cookie.  The wonderful spiced flavor and the perfectly chewy texture seem to embody the holiday season in a cookie.  Not to mention, they are very pretty!  I decorated them with a simple royal icing design and a few cake sparkles just like Katie did.  While this is certainly not necessary, it definitely made them much more attractive.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the cookies spread and puff quite a bit during baking, so you don’t want to use a cookie cutter with too much detail.  These snowflake shapes looked very different before I popped them in the oven.  Even though I didn’t like gingerbread as a kid, Andrew definitely approved of these, and I’m sure they’ll be part of my holiday baking traditions for years to come.

Gingerbread Cookies

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4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1½ tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices to combine; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the molasses and egg until combined.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place the cookie shapes onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

Source: adapted from Good Things Catered, originally from Allrecipes

42 Responses

  1. I feel the same way about the gingerbread cookies. I was willing to try anything with ginger during my pregnancy and found that I was not a fan. But these are so pretty, maybe I’ll give them a whirl?

  2. Hello Annie
    I love these cookies and the drawings on top are very delicate bravo!!
    I am Pierre based in France ! I have created mly foodblog 6 months ago dedicated to creative french food so if you want have a visit you are very welcome !! Cheers from Paris ! Pierre

  3. One of my friend/coworkers made gingerbread cookies last year for Christmas. I’ve been thinking about those cookies for about 6 months now. Coincidentially she’s 6 months pregnant, so I’m not sure if she’s feeling up to making them this year, but I sure hope so! If not, I’ll just have to drool over yours instead. Gorgeous!

  4. My all-time favorite Christmas cookie! 🙂

  5. They look and sound wonderful! I love that you made them in snowflake shapes instead of the more traditional gingerbread men ones.

    Wow! Your post yesterday sort of went VIRAL! Woot-woot!!!

  6. There’s something comforting about these classic holiday cookies. You decorated the cookies so beautifully!

  7. These look amazing! I found your blog through mykitchencafe, and I’m very impressed with your artistic decorating ability! I steered clear of gingerbread men this year, because of the difficulty and my inability to decorate, but looking at your pictures, I’m wishing I had some!

  8. They are gorgeous!

  9. so pretty, why is it that when I make cookies, they never come out looking like that? hehe Guess I will have to give it a try. They look to delicious not to!

  10. I love gingerbread cookies year round. I guess I need to go buy some molasses and get baking! What’s better than gingerbread to dip into coffee? (Wait, don’t answer that, I love biscotti too!)

  11. Annie, these are so pretty! What royal icing recipe did you use?

    • Steph,
      The royal icing recipe is all over my blog if you just do a search. Basically 4 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. meringue powder and 5 tbsp. water.
      🙂 Annie

  12. These look so cute but I haven’t been a big fan of gingerbread and don’t know if I’ll go to the trouble to see if my tastes have changed this year. I love your blog and discovered it through Shannon…(I am a Wishard Histotech). I made your potato soup recipe last night for dinner and my 8 year old (that doesn’t eat soup) cleaned her bowl. Thanks!

  13. These look amazing. I added a link to them over at so that people can find this recipe. I can’t wait to make them. They’re beautiful.

  14. To prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven, put them 15 minutes in the refrigerator before you bake them. That way they’ll keep their beautiful shape !

  15. These are SO pretty! I can’t wait to make gingerbread snowflakes next week!

  16. Loved the snow flake decoration. This was really wonderful post. Gingerbread are sooo good and remind me of holiday season, no matter what time I eat them 🙂 Thank you for sharing these.

  17. They look wonderful! I might just have to try them. Merry Christmas and thanks for all the great recipes!

  18. These are absolutely gorgeous cookies! I just made snowflake sugar cookies and they definitely didn’t look the same when they came out of the oven! Your decoration is beautiful.

  19. I made these last night with a friend, and they turned out great! I found out that she’s one of those I-don’t-have-to-follow-the-rules bakers and doesn’t measure very carefully or keep the dough cold, but the cookies still turned out great! They are subtly spicy, with a good contrast between crisp edges and chewy insides. Thanks for the recipe!

  20. That’s a great picture! Have you ever tried using something like orange or lemon juice in your royal icing? I’m going to try that tomorrow — maybe orange vs. lemon — to amp up my orange gingerbread cookies.

  21. I just baked these guys. It was my first time making cutouts and they are delicious. For years the smell of molasses scared me from trying gingerbread cookies, but i’m glad I finally made them. They have just the right amount of spice, and they are just soft enough on the inside. Up next: my first attempt at royal icing!

  22. Thanks for a great recipe! I really like that they are not too “spicy,” yet they still taste like gingerbread!

  23. These were fantastic.

  24. Beautiful! And I love the cookie cutter you used…I’ve got to find me one of those 🙂

  25. Annie,
    I had THE same EXACT experience with GB cookies as you — from loving their look — as a child — and being SO horribly disgusted by their taste, to deciding to give them a second chance (since becoming an adult and much more into cooking) just this holiday season (’09). And, like you — AGAIN — was SOO glad that I did because they are now a favorite of mine, as well! (Yours look 1,000 times prettier than mine did, though! That icing job you did is nothing short of pure art.)

    How funny it is to absolutely adore something as an adult that you hated as a child and vowed never to consume again. So thankful our palates change as we get older, aren’t you?? Most of my favorite foods I would never have even ENTERTAINED the idea trying it.

  26. I know it’s been a while — but do you have an estimate for the yield. I’m thinking it may have been left off b/c it may depend on the cookie cutter size. I may double for 29 kids to make gingerbread cookies.
    I can’t believe Katie’s blog is offline! I used to love it! Found her thru you actually:) I hope it comes back at some point…lots of great looking recipes I still hadn’t tried on there!

    • I’m sorry, I really don’t remember. I remember it made a ton, but I may have doubled or tripled the batch for holiday baking, so I have no idea. I’ll try to update when I make them again this year. (Maybe soon, I’ve been seriously craving them!)

  27. What beautiful gingerbread cookies! I’m always on the prowl for a good gingerbread cookie recipe.

    Years ago, I used to make very gingery gingerbread men… and have now – sob! – lost the recipe! They were dense and dark and chewy. And almost dangerously gingerrific. The closest recipe that I’ve found is from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, where they actually used FOUR teaspoons of ground ginger to 2 1/2 cups of flour, plus they added a pinch of cayenne. Not for the faint of heart!

  28. I have never made these before because I too thought I wouldn’t like them. I used to not like them I know that. But I also think my tastes have changed and I am ready for these beauties. thanks for sharing!!!

  29. HI! I know it’s been a really long time since the original post, but I was wondering….are these cookies crisp or a softer cookie? Thanks! 🙂

  30. Made these the other day. Amazing! Very soft and chewy, the perfect gingerbread cookie. I made a simple confectioner sugar icing and added a little ginger, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon to it. Came out delicious! The hubby loved them!

  31. Annie,

    I plan on making these this week (they just look to-die-for!), and I was wondering what size tip you used for the royal icing? I love your icing design; it’s so simple and elegant.


  32. Annie,

    I’m a 19-year-old college student in Montreal, Canada who has been (quietly) following your blog for months now. I’m completely clueless in the kitchen and don’t have a lot of equipment, but I finally decided to try one of your recipes, and this one was the winner (I was feeling festive). These cookies are UNREAL – all my roommates and friends adored them, and they were gobbled up in minutes!

    Just wanted to say thanks, and keep on posting! I will never get tired of browsing through your creations in lecture and watching everyone sitting around me start to drool…

    🙂 Alissa

  33. I’m gonna try to bake these today. I was wondering what the purpose of rotating the pans halfway was? Does that bake it more evenly?

    • Yes, rotating the pans helps things bake evenly. I do this with essentially every thing I bake, unless the instructions specifically state not to open the oven during baking. It yields much better results.

  34. I love your blog and am constantly trying the new recipes you post! By any chance, can you substitute margarine for butter with this recipe or will it make the dough too sticky? These look amazing & I can’t wait to try them out! 🙂

    • I always use butter in baking so I’m not sure. Try Google for substitution info. You may be able to do it, but butter will give a better flavor.

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