About 5 or 6 years ago I saw a recipe for Gingerbread cookies and wanted to try making them. My mom always made sugar cookies and other baked goods around Christmas time but it was rare she would ever make the gingerbread ones.
My family got hooked and the entire batch was gone within days. From then on, my mom begged me to make them every year, which of course I did. They are too good not to.
The thing with gingerbread cookies is that making them is very time consuming if you want them perfect. Your feet will probably hurt, but your taste buds and your tummy will definitely thank you.
This year I’ve decided to share the recipe with all of you because I’m that nice. It has easily become one of my Christmas traditions and I didn’t want to keep them all to myself.
I would highly suggest you start out by making the dough a day ahead of time. You can actually make it up to 4 days ahead of time if you needed to as well.
It’s easy enough. Whisk the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, then add the dry to the wet and it turns into a dough.
From here, you want to separate the dough in half, roll into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Wrap it in cling film and place in the fridge.
When you are ready to start rolling and cooking, you’ll need a few things. I suggest a few sheet pans, lots of waxed or parchment paper, a cookie cutter, spatula, and some freezer space.
You need to take the dough out and set it on the counter for a few hours to let it come to room temperature before you can roll it out.
Once there, you place one of the dough disks on a piece of wax paper and put another piece on top and roll it out in between. It is done this way because the molasses in the dough is really sticky and would otherwise create a big mess.
Pro tip: Don’t use flour to make the dough less sticky. It will not come off the cookies and they won’t look very nice when finished. I did that one year and was really sad that the gingerbreads all looked like they had a cocaine problem.
Because the dough is so sticky, once you’ve cut out as many cookies as you can, you want to pull out the remaining dough as best as you can. Then take that sheet of wax paper, slide it on to a sheet pan and place in the freezer. The cookies become so much easier to handle once they’ve been in the freezer for a few minutes. You can pick them up and place them perfectly on a sheet from here and put in the oven for 7-9 minutes (depending on thickness).
Keep repeating this process until they’ve all been cooked. It becomes a lot easier as you go. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.
Pro Tip: If one of your cookies loses an arm or leg when transporting, don’t abandon the cookie, just bake it and when you ice it, give it a sad face and “stitches” with the icing. Makes it really cute and keeps the stress out of “ruining a cookie.”
As it was cold outside, mine were cool within 30 minutes of baking. However, I’m sure cool times vary so be careful with that.
Now you need to make your royal icing, and yes, it has to be royal icing. Don’t be different here. You can’t fix things that ain’t broken.
So you can google many different royal icing recipes on the internet. A lot of them tell you to use meringue powder. I have never in my life been able to find meringue powder, so what I would do is use egg whites.
FYI: Meringue powder has dried egg whites, cornstarch, and other fun additives.
If you live in the UK, we found a box of royal icing sugar all ready to go at Tesco’s. It had egg white powder mixed in so all I had to do was add water. It was great and sooo easy. I don’t think they have that option in the US so sorry, you’ll just have to use egg whites. Here’s a royal icing recipe here if you need it.
Anyway, divide your icing into three separate batches. One for plain white, one for green, and one for red. Get your food colouring out and mix it up. Put your icing in piping bags and pipe your gingerbreads away.
Now royal icing takes quite a while to fully set. I think it was at least 4 hours, but I can’t be positive on that. Regardless, be prepared for them to take a while before they can be stacked or eaten.
Once I was sure they were ready, I ate one. And it was as good as ever. Well worth the effort, I promise you. I actually think this was my absolute best batch yet. Maybe it was the pressure of a blog post, or maybe I’m just becoming a better baker… 🙂
They last up to a week or so, but I bet you won’t be able to keep them around that long. I had to warn D off of them as I wanted to save them for a little party over this next weekend. Stay tuned to find out what it is…. 😛
If you missed the Gingerbread Recipe above, click here for it now.
If you do make these, please tag me in your photos @knackeredbychaos. I’d love to see how you got on with making them! As this recipe is not mine, I cannot take credit. However, it still excites me when people try out my favourite recipes, so I would love to hear how it turned out for you!
Do you have a favourite cookie recipe you make at Christmas? If so, leave the link to it in the comments. I’d love to check it out!