Who can resist hand decorated gingerbread cookies for Christmas?
The aroma of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, butter and sugar in my kitchen is just the beginning. Cutting these cookies out using adorable cookie cutters of gingerbread boys and snowflakes from a beautifully soft spicy dough reminds me of Christmases past like no other cookie. No perfection is necessary here. It’s time to be creative and enjoy the holiday season with baking!
This gingerbread cookie recipe is easy to mix up and very forgiving. Because it doesn’t matter if your cookies are thin and crispy or thick and soft or medium size and chewy. These cookies don’t require any fancy decorating skills and lots of colors. Although those two choices are optional for those who have lots of time and energy. I used plain old white royal frosting to decorate and I think they are simply wonderful. The white frosting on the dark gingerbread is classic and elegant.
I used a piping bag with a medium consistency of royal icing with decorating tips of 1,2, and 3. Use the smaller tips if you want more detail and have the patience that I don’t have. Pull out some snowflake ribbon or paper for ideas in decorating your snowflake cookies. Hint: Straight lines are easier than rounded or circles. I generally start with 3 lines intersecting on the cookie middle and go from there.
I will post both the gingerbread recipe and the royal icing recipe I use below. There are also royal icing mixes available that can be used that I use on occasion. I find that the mixes don’t have as good as a flavor as homemade but tend to be more stable and can be kept in the fridge longer without separating. I usually make up my own royal icing, but the mixes are easy too if you want to just “add water”. You can find the mixes at stores like Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics or online at various sites. My favorite mix is CK royal icing and can be purchased in small amounts at Karen’s Cookies, a wonderful online cookie decorating site.
I keep waiting for snow here in Pittsburgh, but so far nothing. In fact, we are expecting 70 degree weather this weekend! I happen to love snow and even enjoy the winters, but I have to say that this warm weather is welcome while it lasts. We always kept our fingers crossed that snow wouldn’t show up until after December 24th when I was operating our online cookie bakery, Country Cupboard Cookies.
Shipping gifts across the country with blizzards was no fun worrying about UPS and FedEx delays. Although most of our packages arrived on time each year, despite some severe wintery weather, we were always planning and rushing. I was happy to work with both companies over the years and will miss all the deadlines and rush shipping.
So, snowflake gingerbread cookies will be the best wintery treat I can bake now. Until the snow comes.
I also baked these cute gingerbread boy cookie ornaments from the same batch of dough. If you want to hang these on your tree or to give as gift favors at a holiday event, all you will need is a straw and some ribbon to hang.
After rolling out your dough and cutting out the gingerbread cookie, place on cookie sheet. Using a plastic straw, make a hole in the top of the raw cookie dough. After baking, you can use a clean straw to reopen the hole if it closes slightly. It’s helpful to bake a couple of minutes longer if using for ornaments so the cookies will not be too soft. Be sure to cool completely before threading ribbon through and tying a bow or a loop so you can hang on your tree.
Happy Holiday Baking!
- 8 ounces butter (1 cup)
- 7½ ounces packed brown sugar (1 cup)
- 6 ounces unsulphered molasses (1/2 cup) * I use Grandmas Molasses
- 1 whole egg
- 1 TBL pure vanilla
- 1 pound all purpose flour (3¾cups)
- 1 TBL ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Cream softened butter and brown sugar.
- Add molasses and mix well.
- Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Make sure the molasses is mixed in well to avoid streaking in your cookie dough.
- Mix in flour and dry ingredients. Dough will be soft. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour up to one week.
- When ready to roll out dough, use extra flour to avoid rolling pin sticking to dough. If dough continues to stick to rolling pin despite adding extra flour, chill a bit longer.
- Roll dough ¼ inch thick and use cookie cutters of choice.
- Bake on parchment or silpat lined sheet or use a light spray of non-stick spray.
- Bake in 350 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on sheet.
- Decorate using royal icing.
- ¾ cup warm water
- 5 TBL meringue powder
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2¼ lbs powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar) approximately 8 cups
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- 1 tsp corn syrup
- Mix together water and meringue powder until meringue is dissolved in mixing bowl.
- Add cream of tartar and let sit 5 minutes.
- Add Powdered sugar and vanilla and beat 3 to 5 minutes using stand mixer and flat beater. ( I use speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid mixer) Beat until icing forms stiff peaks.
- Add corn syrup and beat until shiny.
- Remove the icing you need for todays decorating job. Store the remainder in a closed container. Do not leave exposed to air or it will harden.
- Add more water to the icing you are using today a tablespoon at a time until piping consistency.
- Fill your decorating bag and start decorating!