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Gingerbread Recipe For Cookies or Gingerbread House

Christmas cookie season is here, and there is no better way to get the holiday festivities started than to make a gingerbread recipe. Not only will your house smell festive, you will have cookies to share with your family and friends that were made with very little effort.

In addition, you can use this same recipe to make a gingerbread house with the kids or grandchildren. It is a great activity to get the little ones involved in the kitchen and to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Best of all, this recipe is easy to make. With just a few ingredients you will have the cookie dough made. However, be sure to follow the recipe tips below so that your gingerbread people don’t spread out too thin when they bake.

gingerbread recipe

Ingredients Required

Butter – It is best to use unsalted butter in this gingerbread recipe. However, it is crucial that you don’t start the recipe until the butter is softened to room temperature.

Brown Sugar – You can use either light or dark brown sugar. There will be a slight difference of flavor, but either one will work fine in this recipe.

Molasses – No gingerbread recipe would be complete without the addition of molasses. However, there are two different types of molasses that you can purchase. Because we are looking for a mild, sweet flavor be sure to purchase molasses that is labled as unsulphered (not blackstrap molasses).

Egg – This is the binder that holds everything together. However, if you want an egg free recipe use one of the alternatives listed in this article: 11 Egg Substitutes For Baking.

Vanilla Extract – The purpose of vanilla extra is to add both flavor and aroma to the cookies.

Baking Soda & Salt – Baking soda gives the cookies a chewy texture and the salt enhances the texture and flavor of the other ingredients.

Flour – Standard all-purpose flour is used in the dough itself and to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface when rolling. When making a gingerbread house use an additional 1/4 cup of flour in the dough recipe so that it is nice and sturdy and can be easily assembled.

Gingerbread Spices. We’ll use traditional gingerbread spices, including gingercinnamoncloves, and nutmeg.

cookie batter

Making & Chilling The Dough

Just like when making Molasses Cookies, this gingerbread recipe starts with creaming the butter, sugar and molasses together. However, it is extremely important to make sure that the butter is softened to room temperature before mixing.

Once the butter mixture is creamy, add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Once the dough is uniform in color and texture it is ready.

However don’t be surprised if your dough is very sticky. This is normal.

Therefore, in order to be able to roll out the dough and turn them into cookies or a gingerbread house you must first let the dough chill in the refrigerator. However it is best to divide the dough into two different sections so that it is easier to roll out.

Divide the dough into two even sections and wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap. Then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. *You can keep the gingerbread recipe dough chilled for up to 5 days.

Then when you are ready to roll the dough, work with one section at a time (leaving the other one in the refrigerator).

chilled cookie dough

Best Icing Recipe For Gingerbread Cookies

Although you could use just about any type of firm icing to decorate your gingerbread cookies, there is one icing that is preferred over all others. This is what is commonly known as Royal Icing.

Here are the ingredients that you need to make Royal Icing:

  • 2 large egg whites or 5 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Instructions:

Use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites and the lemon juice or extract until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, smooth, and shiny.

Then turn the mixer on high speed and beat approximately 5 minutes until it is stiff and glossy. Transfer the icing to a pasty bag and pipe onto the cooled cookies.

You can also use the icing as the glue to hold the walls of a gingerbread house together.

(Recipe Also For Gingerbread House)

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

**Makes about 3 dozen 3″ gingerbread people or 1 small Gingerbread House

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup molasses 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour + more for dusting and rolling
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
cut out cookies

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THIS GINGERBREAD RECIPE

1. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and molasses into a large mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or a hand mixer) to beat until ingredients are creamy, approximately 4 minutes.

2. Add the egg and vanilla extract until well-combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

3. In a medium size bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk well to combine.

4. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and continue to mix until the dough is well combined. *The dough will be sticky.

5. Using a silicone spatula divide the dough into two even sections and wrap each section tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Rolling and Cutting The Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Generously flour a clean surface for rolling out the dough. Remove one of the dough balls from the refrigerator (leaving the other one in the fridge) and lightly dust the dough with flour.

Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough to 1⁄4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men shapes or use a template and cut out the walls and roof for a gingerbread house.

Using a stiff spatula, remove the cookies from the rolling surface and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between the cookies.

gingerbread house decorated
You can use this same gingerbread cookie recipe to make a gingerbread house.

Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are browning around the edges and the center is set.

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a metal cooling rack to cool completely before decorating or building a gingerbread house.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Gingerbread Recipe (Cookies or Gingerbread House)

gingerbread recipe

Old fashioned gingerbread recipe that can be made into cookies or into a gingerbread house. A classic holiday recipe.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup molasses 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour + more for dusting and rolling
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Add the softened butter, brown sugar and molasses into a large mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or a hand mixer) to beat until ingredients are creamy, approximately 4 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract until well-combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  3. In a medium size bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Whisk well to combine.
  4. With mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and continue to mix until the dough is well combined. *The dough will be sticky.
  5. Using a silicone spatula divide the dough into two even sections and wrap each section tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Rolling and Cutting The Dough

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Generously flour a clean surface for rolling out the dough. Remove one of the dough balls from the refrigerator (leaving the other one in the fridge) and lightly dust the dough with flour.
  3. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men shapes or use a template and cut out the walls and roof for a gingerbread house.
  4. Using a stiff spatula, remove the cookies from the rolling surface and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between the cookies.
  5. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are browning around the edges and the center is set.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a metal cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.

Notes

If the chilled dough is difficult to roll, let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to warm slightly.

This dough can be made and refrigerated for up to 5 days in advance.

Store cookies or gingerbread house in a closed container for up to 5 days.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 91mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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