When the holiday season rolls around and you’re dreaming about gingerbread cookies, look no further. These crisp treats will fill your kitchen and cookie jar with the heady aroma and flavor of molasses and sweet spices. We’ve included an easy royal icing, though if you’re short on time you can use tubes of purchased icing instead. If you go the royal icing route, gather decorating tips and bags, and gel food coloring before you get started. You can find them at a craft store or cooking store, or online.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Classic Holiday Gingerbread Cookies.
1. Info for Classic Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Total Time: 20 min
- Servings: 40
- Calories: 134.76 kcal
2. Ingredients for Classic Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (for dough)
- 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- All-purpose flour (for first roll)
- All-purpose flour (for second roll)
- 4 cup powdered sugar (plus a little more if needed)
- 3 Tbsp. meringue powder (buy in grocery store baking aisle)
- 7 Tbsp. water (room temperature, plus more if needed)
- Red gel food coloring
- Green gel food coloring
Place the butter and both sugars in a stand mixer. Beat on low speed to blend. Increase speed to medium and beat until soft and light, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Beat in the egg on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the molasses and beat on medium speed until well blended. Add the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and beat on low speed until well combined, scraping the bowl once or twice.
Lay two sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Scrape half of the dough from the bowl onto each sheet and shape into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll and hold its shape, about 1 hour.
Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin and roll one dough disk to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies using whatever shapes you like. Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps, reroll, and cut again. Dust cookie cutters with flour if dough starts to stick.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To keep the true shape of the cookies, chill on the baking sheets for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating. Meanwhile, continue with second disk of dough. If dough starts to get too soft to cut, chill it again for a few minutes.
Bake two pans of cookies on upper third and lower third racks of oven for 5 minutes. Switch pan positions, then continue to bake until cookies are firm to the touch and light golden brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Check to see that cookies are done. Remove from oven or add time as needed.
Use a spatula to transfer cookies to cooling racks and let cool, about 15 minutes.
Make the royal icing: Sift the powdered sugar into a stand mixer bowl. Add the meringue powder. With mixer on low speed, add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until combined, scraping bowl as needed. Increase speed to high and beat until icing is shiny, thickened, and smooth and holds a soft peak that flops over when the whisk is lifted (turn off mixer to check), 3-5 minutes. If the icing is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water. If it falls off the whisk, add 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar. Once icing is ready, divide it into 3 small bowls. Leave one bowl white, stir red coloring into another, and green into the last.
Transfer each color to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
Use white to pipe dots for eyes and a mouth. Make a zigzag or scalloped line across the hands and feet. Add some buttons.
Use red and/or green to pipe in details such as additional buttons, bow ties, and clothes for people and a collar for dogs. Add stripes, zigzags, dots, or hair for extra decoration.
Icing takes a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour to completely set, but cookies can be eaten at any time. If transporting cookies, let icing set up completely, about 1 hour.