This easy recipe makes classic gingerbread cutout cookies that don't spread when baked. They hold their shape perfectly so that you can decorate them, store them, and even ship them.
The great thing about gingerbread cookies is that you can work on them in stages: make the dough and then chill it until you are ready to roll them (just let the dough warm up a bit on the counter before you attempt to roll it out).
Once you've baked them, you don't have to decorate them unless you absolutely want to, and you certainly don't have to do so right away. In fact, I decorated these a week after I made them because it took me a week to find the energy to make icing and dig out the decorating kit.
I found this recipe in Josée di Stasio's Le Carnet Rouge, which is a gorgeous Christmas book: it's a smaller format Christmas cookbook, full of stunning photography, reliable recipes, and festive ideas. I honestly wish that I lived inside the pages of this book. It's beautiful! Di Stasio actually credits Nick Malgieri for this recipe. I guess it's a small world. So, from Nick Malgieri to Josée di Stasio, and then from me to you.
If you are in need of some Christmas spirit, make this recipe and buy Josée di Stasio's book (available on Amazon).
If you want a baking substitution for the molasses, I have tested this recipe with maple syrup and it works perfectly. Replace the molasses with the same quantity of maple syrup. Please note that the flavour will be quite different and the cookies will be lighter in colour, even if you use amber maple syrup.
For another recipe, try these German gingerbread cookies, or these matcha gingerbread cookie cutouts for a green version that's super fun! If you love gingerbread, you can also make gingerbread muffins and even gingerbread granola!
You keep these gingerbread cut-outs plain, without any icing, but if you want to jazz them up, decorate them with a batch of royal icing: beat together 190 grams of icing sugar with 1 egg white, and a splash of lemon juice. Whip it for a long time to build it up and thicken it. I used this white royal icing to decorate without adding anything else. The icing should be quite stiff so it doesn't run off the cookies, as you can see.
- 280 grams (2¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- 10 mL (2 tsp) ground ginger
- 7.5 mL (1½ tsp) ground cinnamon
- 3.75 mL (¾ tsp) ground nutmeg
- 2.5 mL (½ tsp) ground cloves
- 1.25 mL (¼ tsp) baking soda
- 1.25 mL (¼ tsp) Diamond Crystal fine kosher salt
- 115 grams (½ cup) unsalted butter room temperature
- 67 grams (⅓ cup) light brown sugar
- 80 mL (⅓ cup) molasses
- 1 large egg
Optional for decorating
- 1 batch royal icing
- Sift together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and the brown sugar, then add the molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the egg, and beat it in. Add the flour mixture a third at a time. You might have to work the last bit in by hand.
- Divide the dough in two, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for a couple of hours or until cold and firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough, working with 1 disk at a time, to ¼ inch on a floured surface. Cut out desired shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Let cool completely before decorating with royal icing and store in an airtight container.
- I made this recipe with Stirling unsalted butter
I do my best to bake with the finest ingredients. Stirling Creamery, a Canadian company, has provided the butter for this post.