Gingerbread Cookies

It was always a tradition when I was growing up to make holiday cookies come this time of year. I used to love rolling out the sugar cookie and gingerbread dough with my mother, cutting the cookies into fun shapes and then decorating them. 

I wanted to continue that tradition with my own kids, but the thought of making cookies with tons of sugar didn't seem like such a good idea (kids jumping off the walls at bed time never appeals to me), so we stuck with gingerbread. This recipe does have some sugar, but not a lot. It also contains molasses, which is full or iron, a bonus for kids.

This recipe makes dozens of cookies (more or less, depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use), so you'll have plenty for friends and your family during the holidays.

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Gingerbread Cookies

Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

nut free

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup Unsulphered Molasses (to prevent molasses from sticking, first spray the cup with a non stick veggie spray)
  • Icing:
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Preparation

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.

2. With a standing mixer using the paddle attachment OR by hand, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add the egg, vanilla, and molasses, beating until combined.

4. Gradually add the flour to the butter, beating until combined.

5. Divide the dough in half and form into 2 disks. Refrigerate in plastic wrap or parchment paper for 2 hours or overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

7. On a lightly floured surface OR between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out one of the disks until it’s 1/4 thick all around.

8. Cut out cookies with different shapes (gingerbread men, stars, christmas tree, etc) and using a spatula transfer cookie to the baking sheet.

9. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.

10. Remove to a cooling rack. Decorate the cookies after they have cooled.

Icing:

1. Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

2. Place in a ziplock bag and cut a tiny whole at one end to squeeze and draw with the icing.

Accompaniments

Decorating ideas: raisins, chocolate chips, red hots, sanding sugar

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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26 comments

  • Cina

    My family absolutely loves your graham cracker recipe, so I decided to see if you have a gingerbread recipe... and you do! I haven't tried it yet, since I just found it, but was curious if these cookies would hold up to making a gingerbread house, and if you had a sturdy royal icing recipe?

    Last year I bought one of those pre-made kits :(, and it was inedible and didn't stay together well either. It was fun putting together, but I would like something that my boys could munch on that is tasty too.

    Thanks!

    leave a comment

    • Steph

      I'd also be interested in whether or not this recipe can be used for a house, as I am not too keen on purchasing a storebought kit to decorate with my toddler!

      leave a comment

      • Cheryl

        Okay, so I'm commenting 7 years later. lol! But I thought I'd comment for future readers. It has worked perfectly for us to build a gingerbread house, 2 years in a row now. BEST tasting gingerbread house you will ever have! We eat every last bite.

        leave a comment

  • Victoria

    Hey I made these recently too http://ilovemealplans.com/2010/10/gingerbread-man-recipe/

    leave a comment

  • Lori

    Wow! These cookies are great!!!! So easy and so much fun, lots of flavour and adults and kiddies here were super happy. Also just realized that a 2 year-old doesn't like to put smarties on the cookies, just in his mouth :) Will try raisins in the next batch :) But why did my icing go gritty? Is caster sugar the same as confectionary sugar? (Am in Australia)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Confectionary sugar is powdered sugar :)

      leave a comment

  • Amanda

    Can I substitute honey for molasses as that's what I have on hand? I love your website. It's been very helpful.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Unfortunaltly no, the molasses is what makes the cookie.

      leave a comment

    • Korrale

      I know that you asked this a long time ago but in Australia it is called icing sugar.

      leave a comment

  • SunnyDay

    <strong>SunnyDay...</strong>

    [...]Gingerbread Cookies | Weelicious ™ - Fast, Easy &amp; Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food and recipes for the entire family![...]...

    leave a comment

  • Jill

    Aprox how many cookies does one batch make? Say 3 to 3 1/2 inch tall gingermen. Thanks!

    leave a comment

  • Allison Reed

    So do you add the raisins, red hots, sprinkles, etc before baking? If you don't add icing they would have to be added before baking, right? Otherwise they won't stick? Thanks! We've already cooked one batch and it's great.

    leave a comment

  • Adrimolina

    What do u mean by sifting the ingredients into a bowl? And is it necessary. Sorry, I am a beginner.. Thanks! :)

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Sifting is a method of incorporating air into the dry ingredients. If you don't have a sifter then you can whisk the dry ingredients together really well to get the air mixed in.

      leave a comment

  • Adrimolina

    Since the recipe called for mixing the dry ingredients first I mistakenly added the sugar instead of leaving it out to mix with the butter. :( Did I ruin it.? Should I start over? Or what can I do to fix? Thanks so much! Been looking forward to making this recipe

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Follow the directions to cream the butter (just cream it on it's own) and all the directions following and just add the flour mixture as the recipe states. It should be okay!

      leave a comment

  • Aimee

    After reviewing several gingerbread cookie recipies, all quite similar, this looks a good as any and I like the reduced sugar. Going to make these! I did find a nice idea about jarring and giving the ingredients as a gift. Here goes:
    Mix 2 cups of the flour with the baking soda and baking powder. Mix the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour with the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. In a wide mouth canning jar (needs to hold 4 1/2 cups), layer the ingredients starting with the flour and baking powder mixture, then the brown sugar, and finally the flour and spice mixture. Pack firmly between layers.
    Attach a card to the jar with steps 2 through 10 from above. Be sure to include the amounts of the additional ingredients that are to be added (1/2 cup butter, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses). A hint from another recipe said to add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to keep the dough from crumbling, making it easier to work with and cookies moist.

    leave a comment

  • Joy B

    For the icing recipe - are you supposed to melt the butter? I didn't melt mine and it came out looking like really thick dough. :(

    leave a comment

  • Jen LaBaire

    Made the dough and put in the fridge a few days ago; still haven't found the time to bake them! How long do you think it will keep before I need to put in the freezer?

    leave a comment

  • Wendy

    Hey :) how long does this cookie last for once baked?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine McCord

      About 1 week!

      leave a comment

  • Melissa

    What type of flour did you use? Wondering if something other than AP flour could be used.

    leave a comment

  • Michele

    Hello, took the dough out of the fridge and when we tried to roll it out it just cracked all over. Measured carefully, but is it just too dry and if so can it be saved? Also, your description said what is great about these cookies is that the dough need not be refrigerated before rolling/baking, but then the recipe said to refrigerate 2 hrs or overnight. Strange as only 1 stick butter so not a moist dough.

    leave a comment

  • Sarah W

    I just made these yesterday for the first times, and they are awesome! I even used whole wheat pastry flour, and they were still so good. These will definitely be in my holiday baking routine from now on. Thanks for sharing them!

    leave a comment

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