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Gingerbread Cookies {Delightful & Delicious} | SimplyRecipes.com


No cookie says Christmas more than a gingerbread cookie, right? They’re fun to make, fun to decorate, and even more fun to eat.

Years ago when I first started experimenting with gingerbread men recipes, I made one truly terrible batch from a recipe in my favorite 1974 edition of the Joy of Cooking. That recipe called for 1/4 cup of butter and 3 1/2 cups of flour, and the result, as you might expect, had more structure than taste.

My guess is that the Joy cookie was originally developed to be a tree ornament, and while there is nothing wrong with cookie tree ornaments, I wanted gingerbread men and women I could EAT.

What Spices Are In These Gingerbread Cookies?

This is the recipe I developed after much experimentation; it has stood the test of time, and produces cookies that are a joy to eat!

They’re deeply flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, along with molasses as any good gingerbread should be, yet sweet enough to be a proper cookie.

The Secret Ingredient for the Best Cookies

What would a cookie be without a secret ingredient? The spice that really makes this cookie sparkle is a scant amount of finely ground black pepper. I know we don’t usually think of adding pepper to something sweet, but trust me, it works.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe decorated gingerbread people cookies

Decorating with Royal Icing

Royal icing is a quick drying, thin icing that is made from egg whites, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. The traditional way to make royal icing is to beat egg whites and lemon juice together, adding the powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

If you are concerned about the use of raw egg whites, you can either use powdered egg whites or egg whites from pasteurized eggs. I give instructions for the powdered egg white method in the recipe below.

Regardless of which method you use, be sure to make royal icing right before you are ready to use it because it will set quickly and harden.

More Suggestions for Gingerbread Cookies

If you don’t want to make royal icing, you can just pipe regular frosting on the cookies. You can also top them with sprinkles, chocolate chips, currants, raisins, and pieces of candy.

I bake these cookies so they are more tender than crispy. If you want the cookies to have a little snap to them, just leave them in the oven a bit longer.

Storing and Freezing Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies will keep for at least a week in a tightly covered container.

To freeze, stack a few cookies and wrap them tightly first in plastic wrap, and then in foil, to make a bundle. Transfer the bundles to an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to three months. Undecorated cookies are easiest to freeze, but you can freeze them after decorating, too.

If you would like to freeze the raw cookie dough, wrap the dough tightly in plastic, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before rolling and cutting the cookies.

  • Looking for more Christmas cookies? We’ve got a whole bunch of ideas right here.

Can’t Get Enough Gingerbread?

Updated December 9, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the recipe.



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