When I was growing up, we didn’t make many Christmas cookies. Several of our neighbors would make batches upon batches of cookies and give them as gifts, which meant our house was filled with delicious treats without any of us turning on the oven. I enjoyed so many amazing Christmas cookies over the years, all baked by our generous friends. I no longer live in that neighborhood, and confess I miss all those treats. For our date night last weekend, Luke and I decided to bake Christmas cookies. At the top of my list was a recipe I’ve always loved, but never made before- gingerbread.
My perfect gingerbread is deliciously spicy, but still sweet and soft in the center, but still firm on the edges. This gingerbread meets all the requirements and it is so easy to make! It’s delicious with or without icing (personally, I’m not an icing person, mostly because I eat the cookies before they can be iced. Whoops). They are also dangerously addicting- I had to bring them in to work to keep myself from eating them all myself.
We made gingerbread men and gingerbread foxes, which reminded us of the classic “Gingerbread Man” fairy tale. The foxes expanded a little in the oven, which only made them cuter. No one can resist pudgy foxes. Just look at their little pudgy faces. So cute and so delicious!
- 10 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (use dark brown sugar for more of that amazing molasses flavor!)
- 2/3 cup molasses (I use Briar Rabbit brand)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger (nope, not a typo!)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Optional: Royal Icing
- In a large bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat butter on medium speed for one minute until smooth.
- Add brown sugar and molasses and beat until combined and creamy.
- Beat in egg and vanilla extra for 3 minutes on high. Don’t worry if the butter separates- it will be just fine.
- In a second bowl, whisk dry ingredients together until well combined.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until combined. The dough will be very thick.
- Divide dough in thirds. Place each third onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each piece of dough tightly and shape into a disc (see photo). This will make it much easier to roll out. Chill dough for at least 3 hours or overnight. Dough may be chilled for up to 3 days.
- Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare 2-3 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or silicone mats (I love my Silpat for cookies!). Set baking sheets aside.
- Working with one disc at a time (leave the others in the fridge), roll out on a well-floured surface. Be sure to flour your hands and rolling pin as well.
- Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into shapes using desired cookie cutters. Place cookies on baking sheets, at least one inch apart. Continue rolling dough scrapes until all dough is rolled. Repeat until all dough has been rolled and cut into shapes. I had a little extra dough, and used it to make faces and buttons for some of the gingerbread men. I was concerned about these pieces burning, but it was not an issue.
- Bake for 9-10 minutes. For cookie cutters smaller than 4 inches, bake for approximately 8 minutes. For cookie cutters larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 inches.
- Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Once cookies have cooled completely, they may be iced. If they haven’t already been eaten.
Store cookies covered at room temperature for up to one week, but good luck keeping them around for that long! These cookies are too delicious to stay around for long. Enjoy!
Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction