No holiday cookie tray is complete without a gingerbread man! These Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies have all the spiciness of traditional gingerbread without the crunch.
Have you started your Christmas baking yet?
I try to wait, I like to package cookies up to give as gifts to friend and neighbors, but my family will eat absolutely every single cookie that comes out of my oven before they are even cool.
But I was just craving gingerbread, and I was in luck, Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies freeze wonderfully, so I decided to make some gingerbread men, have a couple and hide the rest in the icebox.
If you also need to hide cookies from your family, or just want to get a head start on your holiday baking, when I freeze gingerbread cookies I have had very good results when I freeze the baked cookies and decorate them as needed. Just pack the cookies in an airtight container, with parchment or wax paper between the layers so they do not stick to each other while defrosting.
Tips and hints for perfect Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies is my hands down my new favorite Gingerbread cookie recipe, and it is fairly easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind to help you get the best
- The dough does require some chilling and freezing to make the dough easier to handle, and for the cookies to keep their shape, but the time invested in these steps is well worth it.
- To control the thickness of any rolled-out cookie dough, use rubber rolling pin rings. They will help ensure even thickness of the final product.
- For soft and chewy cookies, be careful not to overbake the cookies
- You want to use slightly softened butter for the dough. The butter should be room temperature, and moldable, for best results.
- Turn the sheet pan around halfway through the baking process to ensure even baking of the final product.
- All ovens run slightly different. Set the timer for about half the bake time recommended, especially with new recipes. This lets you to monitor the progress of the baking, and fine-tune the baking time without fear of over-baking the cookies.
- For a crispier cookie, bake additional 2-4 minutes.
- You may need to make a special trip to Michaels or make an Amazon order to get your hands on meringue powder for the decorative icing. Meringue powder is made of cornstarch, dried egg whites, sugar, citric acid and some stabilizers. It’s perfect for making royal icing, especially for those of us who shouldn’t be eating raw eggs.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 10 Tbsp butter, softened about halfway
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp meringue powder
- 4 - 6 Tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350° F degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar and butter until well combined, occasionally stopping and scraping down the bowl. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and molasses. With the mixer set on low speed slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Divide dough into two equal portions then roll each portion out evenly to 1/4-inch thickness (into more of an oblong or rectangular shape so it will fit on a cookie sheet) between two sheets of parchment paper. Chill on a cookie sheet in freezer 10 - 20 minutes, or until firm then cut into shapes using cookie cutters.
- Remove the cut out cookies from paper using a thin metal spatula or pastry scraper if needed then transfer to a cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 1-inch apart, and bake in preheated oven 8 minutes or until slightly set (they should leave a slight indentation when touched). Be careful to not overbake the cookies.
- Repeat process with remaining cookies. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool pipe icing over cookies to decorate, add sprinkles if desired. Let decorated cookies set at room temperature until the icing has set, store in an airtight container.
For the icing:
- Add powdered sugar and meringue powder to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit mixer with paddle attachment, add 4 Tbsp water and the vanilla then mix on low speed until combined. Add more water to thin as needed and increase speed and whip mixture until it is glossy and thickens up. Tint with food coloring if desired. Transfer to piping bags fitted with tiny round tips.
The gingerbread flavors really develop the day after baking, and if you've packed them in an airtight container they get softer too!
Half the fun of giving cookies as gifts is packing them up in cute containers. I found these inexpensive plastic containers at Walmart, and I love the Santa on the lid, he definitely has a vintage vibe to him. The colors on these containers are just too cute, I am in love with the teal and red it is such a fun take on the traditional Christmas greens and reds. If I remember correctly the set of 3 containers was about $3, and I can not wait to gift them full of cookies!