As I was a kid, I’ve always wondered why gingerbread cookies are reserved for Christmas. I mean, who decided that? Why restrict such a delightful treat to a specific month when my craving strikes now? The warm spices, the sweet aroma—I want all of them now.
So, let’s have a whole batch of gingerbread cookies. After all, why should December have all the fun? By the way, November 21 is Gingerbread Cookies Day.
For me, the fun part of whipping up these gingerbread cookies is the design part. From the traditional gingerbread men to the cute heart shape to festive gingerbread Christmas trees and even little gingerbread houses, the decorating ideas are as endless as your imagination. It’s like edible arts and crafts, and the best part is that you get to devour your delicious creations afterward.
You can even sip on some Hot Apple Cider alongside those cookies for a refreshing and seasonal drink. I made 24 Gingerbread Men and 12 Gingerbread Christmas Trees. Here’s how to make them:
Simple Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread man recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Making icing/frosting for gingerbread cookies
- 3 cups powdered sugar confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbsp meringue powder
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
- Food coloring optional
making gingerbread cookies
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add molasses and vanilla extract, mixing until well combined.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough into two equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a floured surface, roll out 2 portions of the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread men and tree shapes using a cookie cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly firm. Keep a close eye on them to prevent over-baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To ensure a smooth icing, sift the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl to remove any lumps.
- In a separate bowl, mix the meringue powder with warm water according to the package instructions. Usually, it's about 2 tablespoons of meringue powder per 1/4 cup of warm water.
- Add the meringue mixture to the powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating for about 5-7 minutes until the icing becomes glossy and forms stiff peaks.
- If desired, add vanilla extract for flavor. Mix until well combined. If the icing is too thick, you can add a little more warm water, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Divide the icing into smaller bowls if you want to make different colored icings. Add food coloring (I used red and green) to achieve the desired shades.
- Once your icing is ready, use it to decorate your gingerbread men. You can use a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off for more precise decorating.
- Allow the icing to set before stacking or storing the gingerbread men. This may take a few hours, depending on the thickness of your icing.