If you expect this post to be about gingerbread cookies for Christmas, then you’d be right. But you’d be forgetting that this recipe is one that results in soft centres, crisp edges, and yes…delicious everythings.
Gingerbread cookies for Christmas…it’s pretty classic, and as far as a recipe goes, it’s actually quite basic and very easy to do.
Unless of course, you’re me.
My first attempts at gingerbread cookies were…edible…with lots of milk. I remember cheerily baking up a batch of beautifully decorated gingerbread men to take to a potluck only to discover that I had actually made bricks that just happened to look and smell somewhat like gingerbread men.
Thankfully, no one broke a tooth that day.
And that’s a really good thing, because I could not afford a lawsuit.
Actually, I still can’t. Bestie, please make sure to test your gingerbread cookies before biting into them. I don’t want you to break a tooth! (Or my bank account. I don’t want you to break a tooth, or my bank account.)
Gingerbread Cookie Cracks…and the curse that just won’t quit!
If you’ve been looking at the photos I took, you’ve probably noticed that the surface of my gingerbread cookies isn’t quite as smooth and flawless looking as some others you may have seen on the internet. Why is that you might ask? Well…it’s because I’m cursed when it comes to working with dough.
At this point, I’ve just accepted the fact that my gingerbread will have cracks. My children’s gingerbread will have cracks. Generations of the Riz bloodline will have cracked gingerbread. We are a cursed people.
We will never know the satisfaction of smooth, crackless gingerbread cookies for Christmas. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about – you may want to read up on the time I was cursed in my Canadian Butter Tart recipe post.)
BUT! And this is a big but (one ‘t’, bestie. Focus.)! The very fact that I’ve been cursed, makes me the best person to give you tips when it comes to making perfect gingerbread men. Everything that could have possible gone wrong for me, has. So I’m going to give you all the information you need to make sure it doesn’t happen to you too!
(Also. Despite the cracks, this gingerbread cookie recipe actually comes together quite nicely. And it’s delicious too.)
Tips to Make Perfect Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas
- Make sure to chill the dough before rolling it out – this helps prevent cracking.
- To ensure that your cookie cutter doesn’t get stuck in the dough, you can dust the edges with flour, or use a very small amount of cooking spray.
- Leave plenty of room between your cut out gingerbread men when you bake them. They will spread…and you really don’t want you gingerbread men to melt into one another. Unless it’s Halloween.
- Bake ‘em low and slow. This recipe recommends 325 degrees F in order to prevent burning.
- Let your baked gingerbread cookies cool completely before you begin decorating (otherwise your icing will melt!).
- Don’t stack your cookies once decorated. Just leave them on flat tray in a cool area to set.
How to make gingerbread moose?
Pop quiz, bestie. What’s the plural of moose? Answer: Moose (but really, it should be meese, or at least mooses…right?).
In order to make gingerbread moose (like I have in some of my recipe photos), you’ll need a moose-shaped cookie cutter, Smarties (for the eyes and nose), and some chocolate-covered pretzels (for antlers).
You know, how I said you should let your baked gingerbread cookies cool before decorating? Well, this is the exception. When you remove the cookies from the oven, simply dab on the Smarties, and press in the pretzels. The warm dough will mean that they can be pushed in without any effort or damage to the cookies. Allow to cool completely before moving.
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- Unless you happen to be exceptionally good at carving, you’ll want a set of cookie cutters, preferably adorable ones.
- Using a baking mat instead of parchment paper isn’t completely necessary here. But honestly, once you go Silpat, you never go back (-pat?).
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Soft centres, crisp edges, and delicious everythings are what this gingerbread cookie recipe is all about.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt, a pinch
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- Mix flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar (low-medium speed if using an electric mixer). Mix in molasses, vanilla, and egg until well combined.
- Gradually mix in the dry flour mixture (low speed if you’re using an electric mixer), until a dough forms.
- Roll the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s about a ¼-inch thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut out whatever shape you want! Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper, or a baking mat.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until the edges of the cookies being to brown. Remove from oven, and let cool on a wire rack.
- Decorate! (…then eat!)
Note: This gingerbread dough is probably not sturdy enough to make a gingerbread houses.
Pro Tip – You can freeze gingerbread dough for up to one month. Simply, put the plastic-wrapped dough in a zip-lock bag and freeze. Be sure to thaw the dough overnight in the fridge before you start working with it though.
Keywords: Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas, gingerbread men, gingerbread moose, how to make, gingerbread recipes