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Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookie recipes all start the same and mine comes from my mom. To her recipe, I add a little more molasses and increase the number of spice flavors (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice). I like a gingerbread cookie with A LOT of flavors and I know you will too. Because of the added sticky sweetener (molasses), I add a little more flour to help soak it all up.
- Flour so the cookies can keep their shape.
- Molasses + spices for flavor
- An egg so the gingerbread cookies have structure and richness
- Brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar. I always use brown sugar when its flavor is appropriate!
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
Let’s walk through the gingerbread cookie recipe so you feel confident when you begin baking.
Chill the dough: The dough is sticky once it’s all beaten together in your mixing bowl and therefore, it absolutely MUST be chilled for at least 3 hours. Give yourself enough time in the kitchen or make the cookie dough and chill it overnight. You want your cookie dough firm so the cookies hold their shape and you want your cookie dough manageable so you can work with it. You won’t have either unless you have chilled cookie dough!
Wrap up the dough: It’s easiest to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before chilling. Scoop out 1/2 of the prepared cookie dough, plop it onto a long sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up, and flatten it out into a disc. Repeat with the other 1/2 of dough. Then chill. See that photo above? That’s what you’re doing, but you’ll have 2 discs. Why are you doing this? It’s easier to roll out the chilled cookie dough when it is in a disc shape. Also, the cookie dough chills faster when there is less volume. And it’s just easier to work with smaller portions when rolling/shaping!
Roll it out: After chilling, roll out the chilled cookie dough discs until about 1/4-inch thick. Don’t be afraid to flour your hands, rolling pin, work surface, and everything in the world. By that, I mean: the cookie dough can become sticky as you work. So, don’t be scared to add more flour to the work surface. The flour spots on top of your shaped cookie dough will bake-off.
Place the cut-out cookies onto a lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. The cookies won’t really spread, but you want to make sure they have enough room to breathe. They are gingerbread people, after all!!
How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies
After they’ve baked and cooled, it’s time to decorate the cookies. We’re talking smiles, eyes, bow-ties, buttons, squiggles, whatever your gingerbread men cookie-loving heart desires. This is when it’s really fun to have a friend or little baker in the kitchen with you. I use my basic and simple decorating icing, but royal icing works just as well.
Tint the icing with a couple drops of food coloring to spice things up, too!
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