Tis the season for my soft gingerbread cookies recipe! There are gingerbread cookie recipes you use to make houses, and then there are cookie recipes you use when you want a mouthful of chewy, fluffy cinnamon cookies heaven.
This recipe is the latter type of Christmas cookies, perfect for dunking in mugs of hot cocoa or bringing to your holiday cookie swap. The spices encapsulate all the best flavors of the holidays while the glaze will have you rockin’ around the Christmas tree!
Put on your frilliest Christmas apron, and let’s get these cookies baking!
Surely I’m not the only person who starts prepping for holiday cookie baking in August. Well, maybe I am. But whenever you start planning, my soft gingerbread cookies recipe should be on your list!
- Perfect soft-chewy texture
- Cozy spices
- Sweet, ginger-packed glaze
The realm of molasses cookies is vast and delicious — I’ve yet to meet a cookie containing this syrupy concoction that isn’t out-of-this-world amazing! Molasses bring a rich, deep flavor to ginger spice cookies, mixing with the other ingredients to create a truly unique dessert. But what is molasses? And why does it taste so scrumptious with spices like cinnamon and ginger? Read on!
Molasses: Many people think molasses is a natural occurrence like maple syrup, but it’s actually a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Molasses is the thick, gooey liquid leftover when the sugar crystals are removed, which is why it has such a potent flavor.
Brown Sugar: Again, you might be surprised to learn that brown sugar isn’t a natural occurrence! It is actually a combination of sugar crystals and molasses. Light vs dark brown sugar denotes the molasses to sugar ratio. For my soft gingerbread cookies recipe, we use light brown sugar since we’re using pure molasses as well.
Chill Your Dough! You might be tempted to skip the chilling step — but you’d be missing out on some baking chemistry magic! Chilling dough helps solidify the fat to give you less spread in the oven and more concentrated flavor.
Your soft, fluffy cookies might be a bit on the crunchy ginger cookies recipe side of things. Don’t skip the chill!
Parchment vs Grease: Prefer greasing your baking sheets to using parchment paper? There’s definitely a time to use oil — but for this recipe, I really recommend using parchment sheets. This allows for more even distribution of heat along with many other benefits that grease just can’t give.
Whether you’re planning to keep my soft gingerbread cookies recipe to yourself or you want to pass on cookie storing tips, I’ve got you covered! Nothing puts a damper on the holidays like unproperly stored desserts. Yuck!
Can You Freeze This?
You can definitely freeze my soft gingerbread cookies recipe! Actually, you can freeze them for up to eight months. This means you could be snacking on Christmas cookie deliciousness all the way through autumn of next year! Christmas in July, anyone?
If you are planning to freeze these cookies, I recommend withholding the glaze. That gooey layer will affect the structure of the cookie over time. And we don’t want that! We want your cookies to come out of the freezer as delicious as they went in.
Want to recapture that straight-from-the-oven warmth? Pop your thawed cookies in the toaster oven. Crispy toasty wonder!
Make Ahead Tips
My soft gingerbread cookies recipe is definitely make-ahead friendly! You can whip up the dough up to two days in advance. Just be sure to store the dough in either an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
This will also give your dough ample time to chill, making the fat happier and the flavors fully acquainted!
How Long Can You Keep This?
Once my soft gingerbread cookies recipe is cooled and the glaze has set, you can store these treats at room temperature (but sealed!) for up to three weeks. The glaze may start to get sticky as time goes on, so if you know you’ll be storing these, you can always withhold the glaze until right before you eat them.
Likewise, you can store these cookies for even longer if you use the fridge!
Made one batch and want to bring something different to batch number two? Look no further!
What Other Gingerbread Cookies Can I Bake?
Aside from the sturdy, tooth-cracking cookies used for house building, the most enchanting gingerbread cookies are the shaped favorites! Gingerbread man cookies are always a classic, especially if you decorate them with fun treats or let guests design their own. But another little-known classic are marranitos — pig-shaped cookies common in Mexico!
Can I Add Chocolate?
Yes, indeed! Chocolate and ginger? Always a classic pairing!
Chocolate Christmas cookies complete any treat tray with rich, decadent cocoa. And I always get a little thrill of excitement when I see chocolate spritz cookies! I just know I’m in for a treat.
But my favorite cocoa dessert for the holidays? Double chocolate snowballs. The name is tempting enough — double! Chocolate!
Can I Add Almonds?
Almond is such a delicate, heavenly flavor — I can’t help but love it! Almond crescent cookies always say “holiday” to me. Maybe it’s because they’re perfect hot cocoa dipping shape! Almond shortbread cookies are just as enchanting, often including nuts that add a crunch to your holiday.
Can I Make This Recipe More Italian?
Italian Christmas cookies bring together all the best flavors of an Italian Christmas! Soft, understated flavors combine into a transcendental cookie experience — you’ll swear you’re suddenly eating treats in a villa in Tuscany! Italian fig cookies are ones I also love to make to offset the overly sweet treats that usually take up space on cookie trays.
Can I Turn These Into German Christmas Cookies?
German Christmas cookies call up memories of Christmases long past and loved ones who pass down much-beloved recipes! Springerle are the most iconic with their signature molds giving them beautiful designs — almost too pretty to eat! I also love vanillekipferl, vanilla crescent cookies dusted in fluffy powdered sugar.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour more for rolling dough
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Add brown sugar, molasses, and shortening to a medium saucepan. Melt mixture over medium-low heat just until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and 1/4 cup cold water. Let cool to room temperature.
- When cool, mix in egg, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well combined. Add 4 cups flour and mix well, adding up to 1/2 cup more flour if the dough seems sticky. Shape into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, shape dough into balls. Place on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart, do not flatten.
- Bake in preheated oven, 10-12 minutes or until risen and no longer shiny. Set cookie sheets on a wire rack and allow cookies to cool a few minutes on cookies sheet then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, as needed, to get a texture that can be drizzled.
- Set completely cooled cookies on wax paper. Drizzle glaze with the end of a fork on cookies. Let glaze set completely before serving.
My soft gingerbread cookies recipe will be lonely without some friends! How about…
- Reindeer Oreos – Get the kids in the kitchen!
- Candy Cane Cookies – Peppermint heaven!
- Lebkuchen – Bring some culture to your holiday.
- Christmas Crack – Yes, it is that good!
- Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies – Ring in the holiday Yugoslavian-style!
I look forward to the first batch of my soft gingerbread cookies recipe every year. There’s something extra delicious about the first bite of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses treats. It’s truly the holidays. It’s truly Christmas!
How many types of cookies are you making this year? Let me know in the comments!
Source: New York Times