These Classic Gingerbread Cookies taste just like Grandma used to make. They are a great way to get into the holiday baking spirit!
Gingerbread cookies have long been one of my favorite holiday treats. In fact, I’d almost say that gingerbread cookies are my favorite cookie…but it’s really darned hard to beat a chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. (Nothing against chocolate chip cookies here…they’re just not as good as oatmeal raisin and gingerbread!) One of the first things I do every Christmas is bake up a big batch of gingerbread cookies. My wife has never been a huge fan of gingerbread…which just means more for me!
My favorite gingerbread cookie shapes are the classic gingerbread man and woman, but I often use the scraps of dough and turn them into simple round cookies. I like to keep the dough on the somewhat thicker side as it yields a chewier cookie. (But if you roll this dough out a bit thinner, then you’ll end up with crispier ginger snaps instead.) When it comes to decorating, I typically whip up an easy icing for these cookies. But another easy and fun trick is to sprinkle a generous amount of sanding sugar across the tops of the cookies before they go into the oven. The result is a sparkly cookie with a nice, sweet crunch on top. (Or you could get creative and sprinkle the tops with very finely crushed candy canes, too!)
Warning: this dough will look very crumbly once it’s mixed. However, it can easily be pressed together and rolled out into a smooth cookie dough. This dough is also pretty sticky thanks to the generous amount of molasses. I recommend chilling the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before trying to roll it out. I also recommend keeping a little bowl of flour handy for whenever the dough starts to stick to the table or the rolling pin. (Don’t be afraid to generously dust your work surface with flour…nothing is worse than a cookie that’s stuck to the table!) These cookies are not only a delicious holiday treat for you and your family, but they make excellent gifts for teachers and neighbors, too.
Classic Gingerbread Cookies
For the Cookies
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup light molasses
- sanding sugar for decorating
For the Icing
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- In the medium bowl, add the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined; set aside.
- In the bowl of a countertop mixer with the paddle attached, combine the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until fully combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until fully combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. (Note: the dough will be very crumbly at this point.)
- Transfer dough to a well-floured table; roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Re-roll scraps of dough together and continue process until all dough has been used. (Tip: Use plenty of flour on the work surface and rolling pin to keep dough from sticking.)
- (Optional: Sprinkle a generous amount of sanding sugar across the tops of some of the cookies. Leave other cookies plain if you wish to decorate them with icing.)
- Bake cookies at 375°F for 8-9 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Allow cookies to cool before decorating
For the Icing
- In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until mixture is well combined. (If Icing is too thick, add more milk. If Icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.)
- Transfer Icing to a piping bag or a sandwich bag with one small corner snipped off. Decorate cookies as desired.