Gingerbread cookies are the quintessential Christmas treat. People from all over enjoy variations of them come Christmastime. Here are a few variations you could try with just one simple gingerbread cookie recipe.
I’ve been sitting quietly for a long time thinking about what to write in this space. I had set out to show you the versatility of gingerbread cookies, and I thought I might entertain you with a story. I’d weave a tale of childlike fantasy of a gingerbread boy and the amazing skill he possessed with the gingerbread craft. He would mold and meld the gingerbread into whatever his heart desired, creating all things happy for his small family.
Instead, I’m staring at my to-do list of things to do before Kjell, Ole and I jump on a plane for a short jaunt to San Francisco tomorrow. I’m trying to take a deep breath, hold it in and make the minutes stretch just a bit more than they ought naturally be able to.
I like things that stretch, that can transform and become something else. I judge many things in life on its ability to be multipurpose, and this, my friends, is where the gingerbread comes in. Where you may think of these cute little “men,” you can create so much more with just one recipe and a few different ways of baking it up.
Ole was quick to declare this his favorite, which is unsurprising if you know his cookie-eating preferences. Crisp on the outside, just the very center of these cookies gives the most amazing chew. It’s also the best way to use up the dough scraps after you’ve just had enough rolling and cutting, and the kids are happily decorating the cookies.
Push a little further and your dough could become a spiced cookie bowl, ideal for a late night snack.
The addition of ginger buttercream turns these tiny cookies into delectable sandwiches. I shared them earlier this week over on Life…Your Way’s 101 Days of Christmas.
These are probably my favorite, tiny little cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled (or not) with a few holly sprinkles. They’re perfectly adorable without being futsy or requiring I break out the pastry bags. Again, white chocolate, creamy confection. Win.
It turns out gingerbread is a most versatile dough, melding its way into different shapes, sizes and purposes, and giving you a wide assortment of cookies, just perfect for creating a story about the gingerbread boy.
Starting your holiday baking? Check out the Holiday Baking 101 Checklist with tips for freezing and more on getting your kids involved.
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed muscovado or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses
chocolate for melting
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
Cream together brown sugar and butter in a stand mixer for 2 minutes. Add in eggs and molasses and stir until combined. Mix in flour and spices and mix until a soft dough forms and the dry ingredients are incorporated. Split the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Lightly flour a flat surface. Roll out gingerbread dough and cut into shapes and then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350º F and chill the dough on the baking sheet while the oven preheats. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges just start to brown. Allow to cool completely. Decorate with icing and sprinkles.
For Sugared Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Scoop chilled dough into 1″ balls, rolling until uniform with hands. Roll the cookie balls in granulated sugar to coat. Bake on a parchment-lined sheet for 10-12 minutes or until edges just start to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
For Dipped Cookies:
Lightly flour a flat surface. Roll out gingerbread dough and cut into 1-2″ shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350º F and chill the dough on the baking sheet while the oven preheats. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges just start to brown. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, melt chocolate or white chocolate in a double boiler. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate and then allow to cool and set completely on a wax paper or parchment-lined baking sheet
For Cookie Cups:
Lightly flour a flat surface. Roll out gingerbread dough and cut into circles, 2-3″ across. Lightly press circles over the bottom side of a mini muffin tin. Chill in the freezer while you preheat oven to 350º F. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges just start to brown. Cool slightly and then use a knife to pop them off the muffin cups. Allow to cool completely. Fill with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkles, if desired, before serving.
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.