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Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

The fireplace is roaring in front of me; the flames dancing to a song known only to them. This ballet of intertwining colors is mesmerizing to watch. Whether I'm next to a bonfire on a cool summer's eve or watching the flames next to a frosted windowpane, I have a difficult time averting my eyes from the entrancing display of light and crackling wood.

I am home for the holidays, curled up on the couch after a long afternoon's drive. With the enchanting, yearning songs from Sufjan Steven's Christmas Album filling the silence of the room (my favorite of all holiday music), a peaceful atmosphere is set. It feels good to be home. The familiarity lends a snug, comforting quality that the white walls of my apartment simply cannot provide. This is especially true around this cold time of year, as the warmth from the twinkling white and colored lights greet me as I travel around the house.

Gingerbread Cookies Gingerbread Cookies

A few days ago it occurred to me I had never made (or eaten) gingerbread cookies. It was an abrupt realization, taking me off-guard for a moment. Certainly I've had gingerbread before, I thought to myself, searching for memories of taste or gingerbread men. I searched the corners of my childhood, but the memories never came. As a baker, it's not often that I surprise myself suddenly or so powerfully. More often than not, it feels like I've made everything, particularly as I'm sitting down and trying to imagine up new recipes to share with you.

The time was right to create new memories.

Gingerbread Cookies

I assembled the ingredients from my cupboard, brought out my stand mixer, and the gingerbread journey began. With the spice of gingersnaps and the softness of a sugar cookie in mind, I created a hybrid of the two recipes—my version of a gingerbread cookie. It seemed only fitting to create gingerbread men out of the dough, as the old folktale I had heard so long ago came to mind. The cookie cutters were already in the cupboard, used to shape men out of my family's favorite honey cookies for the holidays last year. This time, however, it seemed the cutters were following their true purpose.

Whether decorated in their best attire or left plain to enjoy straight from the oven, these gingerbread men bring a little happiness into the lives of those who devour them, one limb at a time.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies are a holiday cut-out cookie with character. The cookies have a dark undertone, furnished from the dark brown sugar and a heavy amount of molasses. Spiced with the flavors of winter and ground ginger, the cookies are fragrant with a distinctive taste. The dough rolls out easily with the aid of a little flour. These cookies are wonderful to enjoy with family or brought to parties to share with friends.

For perfect cut-out cookies, follow this set of tips!

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Gingerbread Cookies

Yields 2-3 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons (115 grams) butter
1/3 cup (65 grams) dark brown sugar
2/3 cup (155 ml) dark molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and egg and continue mixing. Mix in the baking soda, spices, and salt. Gradually add the flour, stirring until well combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour to firm up the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper for best cookie removal (gingerbread tends to stick to the pan).

Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick and cut out the cookies using cookie cutters. If the dough gets too soft while rolling out, place it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it back up. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Remove and allow to rest on the baking sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Reader Comments (22)

Your photos are so beautiful; they never cease to amaze me! That is surprising that you've never had actual gingerbread men cookies before; there are so many interesting avenues food bloggers take combining ingredients in unique ways, but it's funny how we can skip over the simplest things sometimes. The cookies look and sound perfect, and I love today's quote. Happy Holidays!
I like seeing these cookies unadorned, all stacked up and tied with twine. The holidays haven't really begun until I've had my first bite of gingerbread!
You skipped the molasses in the description, it's in the list of ingredients but not mentioned again. I guess it's added somewhere after the egg and before the flour, right? And thank you for translating the ingredients to grams and ml, this makes it so much easier for most Europeans! :)

Christmasy greetings from Austria!
12.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterdieAisa
These look perfect!
Your gingerbread men look delicious. I would love to have a bite right away. Lovely styling and photography too.
12.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
dieAisa-- Thanks for catching that! I've updated the recipe so all the ingredients are listed and in the right place in the recipe.
12.16.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I always love your shots! They look so beautifully put together...

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever had a gingerbread cookie either! This has to change!
Want to eat these cookies! I'm dreaming of ice cream sandwiches made from gingerbread at the moment. Salted Caramel sauce on the side anyone?
12.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I absolutely love gingerbread cookies and here I thought I was done with my holiday baking. ;)

You mentioned that you had the softness of sugar cookies in mind. Are these soft? You can't really tell in the photos and I'm really wanting soft gingerbread cookies. :)
12.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaraE
All of your photographs are beautiful and rustic. They are absolutely stunning. And I can't beleive you've never had gingerbread men before. I made them once, they weren't very good; however, the holiday gingerbread men from Little Debbie are definitely a delightful treat! I look forward to those every year :)
Sara-- They are quite soft the first day and firm up a bit (and get more crisp) the second day. The cookies seem to go through a range of textures over the course of a few days.
12.16.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
lovely pics the icing sugar is a great touch
I don't think I have ever made or eaten gingerbread cookies either. For cutout cookies, we always turn to the regular sugar cookies. Love your photos and definitely saving this recipe for future baking! Have a great time at home!
12.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMallory
you know, it's funny but I have never made them or eaten them before either! I am positive that this year is the right one --first one far from home, time to create new traditions! :D I pinned your recipe as I have all the ingredients, can't wait to have a free day to get started. x
12.17.2012 | Unregistered CommenterValeria
Gorgeous gorgeous pictures! Gingerbread man never looked so full of rustic charm!
Love the use of molasses here and in anything baked :)
So classic. Love this post!
Gingerbread cookies are a tradition in our family, the kids love decorating them of course. Our recipe is slightly different. I use a bit different spice mix, and they are not as hard as in some other recipes.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterVera
Stunnng photos. I love the red and white string and those cookies look delicious.
12.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura@Potpourri
Hi! I didn't realize how recently you posted this because I've already made these cookies, given them away and everyone loved them! You have everything I would want my blog to have - clean and classy layout, beautiful pictures and awesome recipes! I used to hate gingerbread cookies but I actually really love these!!
12.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeatriz
I'm wanting to you my family's old cookie molds. This reciepe has eggs in it. Would it be okay to have the cookies dry out at room temp for 8 hours or so to set the details of the molds before baking? I'm a little worried about the egg mixture.
12.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Anne-- Please do not leave the cookie dough sitting out! While eggs still in the shell are okay to leave out at room temperature, once they are cracked, they can become host to a whole range of bacteria which can be very harmful. Just as you would not leave uncooked meat on the counter top for 8 hours, you should not do the same with the cookie dough. The last thing you want is to wind up with food poisoning or worse!

That said, you can try this method for making cutout cookies that do not spread (which might work just fine with your mold): I hope that helps!
12.21.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Amazing! So cute, your photos are lovely - big fan! x
12.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmmy

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