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Whenever you think of Christmas classics, gingerbread cookies are one of the recipes that instantly come to mind. Their taste, the molasses, the balance of spices, the decoration, and their charm, everything is undoubtedly irresistible.
Here is an easy gingerbread recipe for gingerbread men. Soft and chewy in the centre, crisp and hard on the edges, perfectly balanced spices, brown sugar and molasses content, these cookies will take your breath away. In a good way, of course.
Here everything you need to follow this delicious recipe for gingerbread:
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter (soft it to room temperature)
- 3/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 large egg (bring it to room temperature)
- 1 TSP pure vanilla extract
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 TSP baking soda
- 1/2 TSP salt
- 1 TBSP ground ginger
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1/2 TSP ground allspice
- 1/2 TSP ground cloves
- In a big bowl, using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand-held beater, beat the softened butter for about 1 minute at medium speed until it is fully smooth and creamy. Then incorporate the brown sugar and the molasses in the mixture and beat at medium-high speed until fully mixed and fluffy. Scrap the sides of the bowl and the bottom as required.
- Next, beat the egg and pure vanilla extract at high speed for 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl and the bottom, again, as required. The butter might separate during the mixing, but that is alright, do not worry about it.
- Take a separate bowl, and whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, and cloves, in it, until well-incorporated. Add the wet ingredients while mixing them slowly until combined. The cookie dough is going to be very thick and somewhat sticky.
- Divide the dough in half and put it on a large sheet of cling film. Wrap each of the dough pieces tightly and pat them down to make a disc-like shape. Chill the discs for a minimum of 3 hours and up to three days. Chilling is necessary for the cookie dough, it is better if you chill it overnight.
- Preheat the baking oven to 177 °C. Line three-wide baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. This way, the cookies do not stick to the baking sheet. Set the baking sheets aside.
- Take out 1 disc of the chilled dough from the fridge. Flour the work surface, the rolling pin and your hands, generously. Roll out the disc to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Cut them into different shapes. You can even cut them in the shape of gingerbread men.
- Place the now-shaped cookies one inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Keep re-rolling the dough scraps until all the dough has been used. Repeat the same steps with the remaining dough.
- Bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes. If the cookie cutters, that you used, are smaller than 4 inches, bake them for 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are wider than four inches, bake them for 11 minutes. Remember that the longer the cookies are baked, the crunchier and harder they're going to be.
- Let the cookies cool down on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer them to the cooling rack to cool down completely. When completely cool, decorate them as you like.
- Cookies made by following this gingerbread recipe stay fresh for up to a week if covered at room temperature.
How to Decorate the Gingerbread Cookies
After they've cooled down, it is time to spruce up the cookies by decorating them. You can make whatever your gingerbread loving heart desires from smiles, bow, and eyes to squiggles, buttons, and hair. You can use your favourite type of icing and add a few drops of colouring to the icing to spice things up.
Here are all the decoration variations you can try:
You can just use powdered sugar icing, but if you want to use other types of icing like maple icing, or royal icing, that would work as well.
You can also dust your gingerbread cookies with powdered sugar lightly.
Red hots are a public favourite topping when it comes to gingerbread recipes. Poke some in there, and enjoy their deliciousness when you bite into the cookies.
There is a wide variety of sprinkles that you can add to your cookies. From colourful sprinkles to chips and pearls, you can add whatever you want, however, you want.
Gingerbread Man Recipe Tips
Use Softened Butter Instead of Melted Butter.
Melted butter will make denser cookies. Gingerbread recipe cookies are better if fluffy and soft. For this, you have to cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. And for a light texture, you need the butter to be soft and nice.
The Kind of Molasses You Use Can Change the Look of Cookies.
Stick to a single brand while baking gingerbread cookies. Different brands can impart different colours. Some brands can make the cookies look darker when baked, as compared to others. The cookies will still taste amazing, but the difference in their looks is very drastic.
You Can Alter the Type and Amount of Spices.
Gingerbread cookies are supposed to contain a lot of ground ginger, a few cloves and cinnamon. But if you do not want to use gloves because you do not like them, then you can simply skip them. As far as the ginger is concerned, it is a necessary but negotiable component. You can use less if you want.
The Chill Time Is Very Important
Even if the cookie dough appears to be roll-able after mixing, don't skip the cooling process. If you roll out the cookie dough before it's firm, the cookies won't hold onto their shapes in the oven. Keep calm and wait for at least three hours.
Tip for Rolling the Cookie Dough
The dough will crack and crumble as you roll it out. What's helpful is to pick it up and rotate it as you proceed. Furthermore, you can use your fingertips to help merge the cracking sides back together. The first several rolls are often the toughest because the dough is so rigid, but re-rolling the scraps is easier and much better.
It’s impossible not to love gingerbread recipes, especially gingerbread cookies. Their flavour is spot on, and the chewy centre, but crisp edges make it the right kind of texture to bite into. Plus, they are super easy to create, you can even let your kids participate and help you decorate. The best part about gingerbread cookies is that they make great gifts for friends and family, and they ship well, so no worries about their condition upon delivery.
Don’t forget to check out our healthy everyday classic snack: Crispy Granola Bars.