Soft & Chewy Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
“Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread man!” Growing up, The Gingerbread Man was one of my favorite childhood tales. Mentioning gingerbread evokes nostalgia and are my favorite cookies to bake and eat, especially over the holiday season. I love the smell of baked gingerbread, each whift reminding you of Christmas. Since I was a child, my dad would go into the bakery to pick up bread for our shop and every December, they always sold gingerbread men. One day my dad bought me one and I soon realized that the gingerbread man was all look and no taste. It was hard, unseasoned, and too sweet. Now that I’ve discovered a passion for baking, the days of buying manufactured Christmas gingerbread cookies are long gone.
After much research, it was difficult to find a chewy gingerbread cookie recipe. It took some experimenting with various recipes, and now I get to share with you my delicious recipe full of flavor, spices, and with just the right amount of sweetness. Plus, they’re soft and chewy! But, if you like a harder cookie, you can always bake them longer. Get creative and use your favorite cookie cutters, followed by some fun royal icing decorations and designs. This recipe is family friendly, so if you have little ones, you can have them in the kitchen to give you a hand.
With a little patience, this recipe will be sure to impress your pickiest cookie connoisseurs. Plus, they look great on a Christmas platter for parties. They also make a great gift when they’re individually decorated and placed in little decorative cellophane bags tied with a ribbon. Hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do!
- 1 cup room temperature butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 egg white
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- few drops lemon juice
- few drops food coloring
STEP 1: With either stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Be careful mixing with a hand mixer because the butter often flies out!
STEP 2: Add the molasses and egg. Scrape the sides and mix until creamy.
STEP 3: Add vanilla extract and spices to the mixture and mix until combined. I like mine a bit more spiced, so I tend to add an extra teaspoon of ginger. Use at your own discretion. You can always decrease the spice for the more sensitive crowd.
STEP 4: In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, salt, and baking soda.
STEP 5: Combine flour mix to the molasses mix. You can either use a mixer, or wooden spoon to combine flour until none of the flour is found in the bowl. I find the spoon does a good job. After, you’ll get a smooth ball of dough.
STEP 6: Place dough on a floured surface, and cut the dough in quarters.
STEP 7: Cutting out 4 pieces of plastic wrap, place each quarter onto the wrap and push the dough into a disc shape. Wrap them up and stack them in the fridge to firm up for 3-4 hrs or even better overnight. It’s firmer overnight and better to work with.
STEP 8: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheet. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4″ thickness. Too thin will give you crunchy cookies. Put flour on the rolling pin so it does not stick to the dough. Be generous with the flour on your table, so the dough does not stick once it is cut and transferred to the baking sheet.
STEP 9: Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to baking sheet. Leave a bit of space between the cookies. They don’t spread but they can stick to each other if too close.
STEP 10: Depending on your oven, bake for about 8-9 minutes, or until they just start to brown on the corners. Let cookies cool until they are warm to touch, and then transfer to a wire rack or tray to cool completely before decorating.
EXTRA: Decorate with royal icing, or just eat them right away! Store them in a air tight container or tin.
Royal Icing Preparation
STEP 1: In a bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks and add icing sugar to the mix slowly.
STEP 2: Add vanilla, lemon juice, and color to the mix and whip until icing is nice and creamy. Add drop of water if icing is too thick.
STEP 3: Dip cookie tops in icing or decorate cookies to your liking with a pastry bag. Allow decorated cookies to dry on a wire rack for approximately 3-4 hours or overnight.