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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t bake a whole lot throughout the year. I do have a regular Peanut Butter Chocolate chip recipe that I make fairly often but other than that I save the bulk of my baking for the Christmas Season. I’ve got a handful of recipes including my grandma’s Norwegian Lefse that I make every December and these soft gingerbread cookies are one of the newer recipes that I’ve added to our collection.
Baking with Kids
Before I dive into this particular recipe lets talk about the fun and MESS that occurs when baking with kids. To be honest, I can get a little antsy at the thought of having flour strewn about the kitchen but Christmas is the time of year that I let it all go and let the kids dive in and make their baking tornado. I’ve always loved Christmas baking with the kids and although my big kids are harder to get all in one place these days, I’m enjoying carrying on the tradition with our newest little one. Last year she was still an infant so she mostly crawled around at my feet and tried to climb my leg while I was baking LOL. This year she wanted to get right in there.
For me, the key to a great gingerbread cookie is that its soft and fluffy, definitely not hard. Inspired by House of Nash Eats blog, these gingerbread cookies are soft and can be as thick as you choose based on how you roll them out.
Growing up I wasn’t a big fan of gingerbread cookies but I think thats because I had never experienced a soft and fluffy version. That’s why I searched high and low for a great recipe and with a bit of tweaking to make these my own, I’ve grown to actually LOVE gingerbread!
These are easy to whip up and although the original recipe calls for a 3 hour refrigerator chill, I actually just put them in the freezer for about 1/2 hour and that seems to work well. I guess if you have the time to let it chill a bit longer, you might find it easier to roll out the dough but lets be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that;)
I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix all the wet ingredients, and then slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once the dough is mixed well, I split the dough in 1/2 and wrap each portion in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer to chill.
Rolling and Cutting
Once your dough has had time to set, you can start rolling out the mixture. Always make sure your surface is well floured. That is especially important with this recipe as its quite sticky. Once again, the longer you chill the dough the easier it will be to roll out. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thickness depending on your preference. I personally tend to go thicker because as I mentioned before, I love a thick, fluffy gingerbread cookie. How thick you go will also determine how long the cookies need to bake for. Use whatever cookie cutters you have. I’m a big fan of these cute star and snowflake cutters I have.
With any cookie recipe my rule of thumb is not to over bake. No oven is the same and for that matter no cookie is the same. I always monitor my cookies vigilantly to ensure that they don’t over bake. Also, another key to success is to take them out BEFORE they start to brown on the edges. So many recipes tell you to bake until the edges start to brown and in my experience, that is too late. Unless you are hoping to achieve a harder gingerbread cookie, I would highly recommend taking them out before they start to brown on the edge. The cookies will harden up as they’re cooling down and you’ll be left with a soft and fluffy cookie.
Ice Ice baby
For icing, I just use a basic icing recipe with confectioner’s sugar and milk. Because I don’t bake too often, I haven’t acquired any fancy baking supplies but I manage ok with a good old ziploc bag for piping my cookies. Cut a tiny hole to start and then make it bigger if you need. Voila! yummy, soft gingerbread cookies with pretty white icing.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup molasses
- 5 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or gingerbread spice)
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- ½ cup milk
- In your stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg, and mix again scraping the sides of the bowl. Then, add the molasses.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients until well combined and then add slowly to the wet ingredients mixing until well blended and scraping the sides as you go. Then, split the dough into 2 halves and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Let chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or even overnight. For a quicker option, chill in your freezer for 30 mins to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a generously floured surface, roll your dough out to ¼" - ½" thickness. I usually go thicker.
- Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. Keep a close eye on the cookies to ensure that they don't over bake. Typically they take about 10 mins. Don't wait until they are browning on the edges as this will end up with hard cookies. Let them set for 10-15 mins on a wire rack once you remove them from the oven.
Photography by my dear friend Bernine Marie