The perfect chewy gingerbread that will be the cutest of all your holiday cookies. They are flavourful, soft, and a totally adorable Christmas treat.
It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS!!! What is more quintessentially Christmas than adorable little gingerbread people? Santa?? Reindeer with bright shiny noses? The spirit of giving? Well yes, all of those things – but gingerbread men are up there!
Gingerbread was actually not a standard Christmas Cookie for me! My mum has these super secret Austrian Christmas cookies given to her by a family friend who had no children of her own. One of them is similar to gingerbread (I can’t say anything more, that’s how secret these cookies are) so in my house we typically opted out of the more typical little cookie people. But this year, my friend and I got together for mulled wine and holiday baking and wanted to make these classic cookies.
I realized something about myself while baking these cookies – I am less than awesome at decorating gingerbread men. In the photos to come, you will see that. My second batch turned out much cuter, and I improved the recipe a bit – but I had already taken photos of these ones. I figure you could all just operate on faith that the second batch was cuter.
My tips for more successful decorating would be 3 fold:
- Let the royal icing refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before using it. Runny icing is the enemy of cute gingerbread people.
- More decoration looks better. I typically go for a less is more aesthetic, but on batch #2 of the gingerbread cookies I added little squiggled lines across the joint of their arms and legs. They seemed to look a lot more festive that way.
- Ice using a bag with the tiniest puncture hole possible (no bigger than 1mm at the opening) or invest in one of these awesome icing tools.
Ginger Bread Cookies
- 2/3 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 2/3 cup molasses (I use fancy molasses because I’m fancy)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1.5 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until creamy and well-combined.
- Add molasses and beat until well combined, followed by eggs and vanilla. Beat this mixture for about two minutes.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.
- Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet, in 3 or 4 additions, mixing by hand until well combined.
- Shape the sticky dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. You may need to separate into two for easier wrapping (and rolling out later). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350˚F Roll dough out on floured surface with a rolling pin until it’s about 3/4 – 1 cm thick. Cut out your favourite shapes and place them on a baking sheet on a piece of parchment paper.
- Bake for 9 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Ice with royal icing when fully cooled!