The Many Faces of a Gingerbread Cookie

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.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
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
To decorate:
granulated sugar
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.

For Cut-Outs:

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.
Copyright © Food for My Family.


  1. Those ginger bread bowls are incredible!

  2. Shaina, I love ALL of these ideas! The little cups/bowls for ice cream is just too cute, and sounds so very yummy. I’ve even seen seasonal “Eggnog Ice Cream,” and I think that would be amazing! ♥

  3. Beautiful and practical, Shaina! We love rolled gingerbread around here.

  4. The gingerbread bowls are precious! I am planning a day devoted to gingerbread goodies and these will definitely be on the list. Thanks!

  5. I adore all these ideas! The gingerbread bowls are awesome and the tiny cookies are so cute.

  6. I love the sugared balls! They look so moist and delicious!

  7. Love how versatile this dough is, for I too greatly value the multipurpose in life. 🙂 Lovely cookies!

  8. What a beautiful post Shaina. Love your thought process here… hope you are having fun in SF!

  9. Cleveer and creative ideas. I too love the ginger bread bowl idea.

  10. My kids love these

    Gingerbread Men

    350g plain flour
    1-2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    100g butter or margarine
    175g soft light brown sugar
    1 egg
    4 tablespoons golden syrup
    Makes about 20 biscuits.

    Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl and rub in the butter.

    Add sugar and stir in the syrup and egg to make a firm dough.

    Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your gingerbread men. If you don’t have a gingerbread man cutter then use whatever you have – stars and hearts are just as tasty.

    Bake at 190 C /Gas 5 on greased baking trays (spaced out, as they will spread) for 10 to 15 mins until golden brown. Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cook.

    Once cooled, decorate with icing.

  11. Ashley DeMazza says:

    Each year I make gingerbread boys to put in our windows. They look so cute with little red bows around their necks. I love the ideas you shared year and can’t wait to try some!

  12. We make gingerbread cookies every year. I love your ideas. Beautiful photos, delicious treats and a wonderful feature for the holidays. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Love the versatility of this cookie dough recipe – you can please everyone with some form of this cookie.

  14. I love all of these ideas, Shaina BUT I am absolutely smitten with those adorable bowls!

  15. I am going to send this page over to my girlfriend right now. This is something we can make together for our Christmas party. Delicacy!

  16. Love the photos. My husband has request gingerbread cookies this year during my holiday baking…I’ve never made them but happy to come across your post today.

  17. Thanks for all the good ideas – gingerbread is one of those flavours that brings back childhood memories and is just really fun to make 🙂

  18. It’s all so pretty, Shaina! Really love the gingerbread ideas (especially those cute little bowls!) It has me wanting to bake some now.

  19. I’ve never made gingerbread cookies. Ever. And I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve made shaped cookies. This year is different though. My kids and I are doing the gingerbread thing (Confession: I bought a roll of dough so that we can ease into it). I can’t wait. Going to try a couple of your variations for sure.

  20. I have been going mad with gingerbread the last month or so. Finding the perfect recipie with just enough spice and zing and one that also lends itself to rolling out rather than crumbling. My favourite creation so far are gingerbread mince pies or crumbles, delish 🙂

    Seasons Greetings 🙂

  21. Love the idea of the gingerbread bowls!

  22. Oh! Those cups! I can’t wait to try that. I love that your gingerbread recipe is all butter, baby. I hate when a recipe demands shortening, as I don’t keep it in the house.

  23. Delicious!

  24. The modern gingerbread cookies are now called speculoos, lotus or biscoff cookies..and even has cookie butter spread to match.. awesome goodness in a jar…

  25. Excellent article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..


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