This classic cut-out gingerbread cookie recipe is easy to make, perfect for decorating, and always so delicious.
Gingerbread Cookies Recipe:
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- (optional) zest of one small orange
- optional toppings: simple icing (see below), red hots, sprinkles, etc.
Simple Icing Recipe:
To Make The Gingerbread Cookies:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or alternately, you can use a hand mixer and a separate large mixing bowl), beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in egg, molasses and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball. Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or so, or until the dough is chilled yet still somewhat pliable. (Or you can refrigerate the dough for a longer period of time, and then later let soften on the countertop for 15-20 minutes before rolling it out.)
- Once you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick. Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more. Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Once the cookies are room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing (see below) plus any extra sprinkles or candies. Serve and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
To Make The Simple Icing:
- Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth. If your icing is too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar. If your icing is too thick, add in a tiny bit of milk.
- Use a piping bag, or a ziplock bag (with the corner snipped off), or a plastic squeeze bottle to pipe the icing onto the cookies.
Source: Recipe slightly adapted from Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com. The instructions were also edited in December 2020 to encourage rolling out the dough when it is chilled yet still slightly soft, instead of completely chilled and hard.