These Gingerbread Button Cookies are a fun way to add a twist to the holiday cookie tray!
I can’t sew. It’s a little embarrassing, but I actually save up my sewing projects for when I either visit my Mom down in Nashville or when she makes a trip up north to visit us. My Mom comes into town, and I hand her 2 shorts with missing buttons and a pair of jeans that needs hemming. I’m a short guy (5’8″ or so on a tall day), and that means my pants always need hemming. Always.
Whenever I try on new pants at the store, I don’t even pay attention to the length. I just resign myself that I’ll either need my Mom’s help, or I’ll need to take them to a tailor. I just call it an extra tax on short people! And then there was that time when my mother visited and decided to help us hang sheer curtains in our living room. She actually took the curtains back home to her sewing machine and then mailed them back to us. I can’t imagine what we’d have done without her. Actually, we just wouldn’t have curtains.
As incompetent as I am at real sewing, I can in fact “sew” these Gingerbread Button Cookies. I mean it’s a piping bag filled with frosting. If you can make a straight line, then you can sew these cookies! And I can make a straight line…on most days.
How fun are these Gingerbread Button Cookies? I came across this idea a few months back when we stopped at a bakery while on vacation in Maryland. They had a whole batch of sugar cookies in fun colors, and each cookie was piped (i.e. “sewn”) on top. We promptly polished off a couple of these cookies, and I filed the idea away for a later date.
I absolutely love gingerbread cookies. I make a batch during the holidays every year, and “leave them for Santa.” Laura actually doesn’t like gingerbread that much, so that just means more for me! But as I was making a batch of gingerbread cookies the other day, I realized that gingerbread would work really well for button cookies. And that’s how these Gingerbread Button Cookies came to be.
Gingerbread Button Cookies
For these Gingerbread Button Cookies, you need a dough that doesn’t expand too much while baking. The “button holes” are cut before the cookies are baked. If the cookies expanded too much in the oven, then those holes would disappear. An extra trick I used while making these Gingerbread Button Cookies was to refrigerate the cookies for at least an hour before baking. Since the dough is cold when it goes into the oven, it helps ensure that these cookies don’t spread too much. (You’ll also need to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out, but that’s just because of the molasses. Molasses is sticky. So cookie dough with molasses in it is also sticky. But you can overcome that problem by refrigerating that dough and using plenty of flour when rolling it out.)
From there, you can get creative with the “sewing.” I turned these Gingerbread Button Cookies into sandwich cookies, but you could also just keep them as a single layer. No matter which way you go, these cookies are a fun addition to the holiday cookie tray! Enjoy! Oh, and if you make a batch of these cookies, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
Do you love gingerbread as much as I do? Check out some of these other gingerbread recipes:
Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting (so good!)
Gingerbread Button Cookies
For the Cookies
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
For the Filling
- 8 oz. unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp milk or heavy cream
- 3½-4 cups powdered sugar
- Using a medium bowl, add flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, salt and nutmeg; mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a countertop or electric mixer, add butter, brown sugar and molasses. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, or until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until fully combined. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until fully combined.
- Divide dough into two pieces and press into discs. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Note: Dough can be refrigerated overnight at this stage.)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Transfer dough to a well-floured countertop; roll each piece of dough to ¼" thickness. Using a 2” round cookie cutter, cut dough into circles transfer to baking sheets. Carefully re-roll scraps of dough together and continue until all dough has been used. (Tip: Use plenty of flour on the work surface and rolling pin to keep dough from sticking.)
- For half of the cookies, take a smaller round cookie cutter and gently press into the top of the dough. Take care to not press all the way through the dough. (See photo in post for example.) Using a plastic straw, cut four small holes in the middle of each of those cookies. (Note: The other half of the cookies will be the bottoms, so they can remain as plain circles.)
- Refrigerate cookies for at least 60 minutes. (Note: This helps ensure the cookies don’t spread too much while baking.)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges; set cookies aside until fully cooled.
For the Filling
- Using a medium bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract, milk/cream and powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until frosting is thick enough to frost a cookie.
- Using an offset spatula, frost each of the bottom cookies (i.e. the ones without button holes) with ~½ tablespoon of frosting. Place top cookie on top. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, “sew” lines on top of the cookies. Let frosting dry before serving.