Gingerbread Cookies… My Favorite!

For me, it’s just not Christmas without gingerbread cookies… Don’t get me wrong – all of the other cookies are great, but they just aren’t the same!

I’ve been making the same gingerbread recipe since I was a kid and I made these with my mom.  They puff up beautifully, making cookies that are soft and great for decorating.

This year, my cookies turned out much better than they usually do because I had a few royal icing tips from Gail (@THEToughCookie).  She is the best!  Be sure to check out her gorgeous cookies over at One Tough Cookie NYC… I want to take a cookie decorating class with her the next time I visit NYC!

After reading her tips, I realized that I have been doing it all wrong for years and years. No wonder I always hated royal icing! I have also stopped using separated egg whites to make icing.  I bought some meringue powder, and I am loving the results.  You can see my icing “recipe” below!

Gingerbread Cookies

(adapted from Betty Crocker Cooky Book)

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups dark molasses (I use Brer Rabbit)
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat together the shortening, brown sugar, and molasses to remove any lumps.  Add the cold water and stir until combined with the other ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.  Gradually add to the molasses mixture, stirring until all of the ingredients are incorporated.  Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease baking sheets and set aside.

Roll the dough about 1/4 inch think on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on the baking sheets, leaving room for the cookies to spread just a bit. Bake for about 9-10 minutes.  The cookie are done when the cookie springs back when touched lightly.

Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing

This is the icing I made to decorate my gingerbread cookies… Add the water slowly.  The amount needed for the recipe will vary based on the humidity in the air and other factors. You will want to beat the icing to soft peak consistency for piping.  For flood icing, thin with some extra water (gradually) until you have the desired consistency.

  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar (approximately 4 cups, but I recommend using a scale if possible)
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder in a large mixing bowl.  Fit stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment and beat on medium-low speed, adding 3/4 of the water right way.  Beat for about 5-7 minutes, until the icing is light and fluffy.  Add the remaining water, as necessary, to adjust the consistency.

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22 Responses to Gingerbread Cookies… My Favorite!
  1. tiffany
    December 20, 2009 | 10:41 pm

    your cookies are pretty! we have a mad gingerbread contest every year, in my family :) it’s a fierce competition and… you’d win if you were here!

  2. Mags
    December 20, 2009 | 11:57 pm

    I love the muted colors. Such pretty cookies!

  3. jenn
    December 21, 2009 | 3:13 am

    Fantastic cookies. I love the snowflake ones. Gingerbread is definitely something you can not leave out of the Holiday season.

  4. Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    December 21, 2009 | 6:58 am

    These are decorated beautifully!

  5. chocolate shavings
    December 21, 2009 | 9:11 am

    That’s quite the plate of gingerbread cookies, beautiful!

  6. Jeanne
    December 21, 2009 | 10:10 am

    Beautiful cookies! I love the shimmering Christmas tree!

  7. Alexandra
    December 21, 2009 | 11:14 am

    Oh my! I wish I had the ability to decorate cookies… but i’m far too impatient.

  8. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie
    December 21, 2009 | 1:29 pm

    Your decorations for the cookies are gorgeous!

  9. Amy
    December 21, 2009 | 6:11 pm

    I love your decorations, they look amazing!

  10. Alice
    December 21, 2009 | 6:44 pm

    Your cookies are gorgeous!!

  11. Aimee
    December 21, 2009 | 9:40 pm

    Wow, these are lovely–and I totally approve of the icing/cookie ratio.

    Merry Christmas!

  12. kamran siddiqi
    December 21, 2009 | 11:40 pm

    Gorgeous cookies!! I especially love the snowflakes! :)

  13. Eliana
    December 22, 2009 | 12:30 pm

    these look absolutely precious Jen!

  14. Nutmeg Nanny
    December 22, 2009 | 3:41 pm

    Gingerbread is the best! I love the decorations and the icing. You did such a great job :)

  15. bergamot
    December 26, 2009 | 2:36 am

    These looks lovely.love the way you have decorated them

  16. Anne Marie
    December 27, 2009 | 9:29 pm

    I got the cutest moose and mittens from king arthur and I picked up some meringue powder the other day. I’m ready for tomorrow.

    Love the house, you DB are nuts.

  17. Divina
    December 30, 2009 | 9:44 am

    Aren’t they pretty? One of the cutest gingerbread cookies I’ve ever seen.

  18. bridget {bake at 350}
    December 30, 2009 | 8:02 pm

    I LOVE your gingerbread trees! So, so cute!

  19. Sue
    January 3, 2010 | 9:05 pm

    I love your BEAUTIFUL cookies! The colors are fabulous, and I love gingerbread cookies! Happy New Year!

  20. [...] for architecture, but not really edible (in my opinion).  If you want an edible recipe, give my gingerbread cookies a try… I think they would actually work well to build a gingerbread house, and stay nice and [...]

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  22. [...] am a fan of the standard sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies, and I make them every year (including this year).  But, last week I decided to spruce up my sugar [...]

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