Day 5: Gingerbread Cookies

5:08 PM

If you're just joining me, be sure to check out the other recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies:
Day 1: Fail-proof No Bake Cookies
Day 2: Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Day 3: Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Whipped Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Day 4: Snickerdoodles

There are few things that say Christmas quite like the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies.  (Ok, so truly my list of Christmastime favorites is quite long, but gingerbread really is right up there near the top) While crunchy gingersnaps are nice, there's just something about big, soft, chewy gingerbread cookies.  Biting into one takes me back to the winter I spent in Vienna and all the magic of that season.  Suddenly I'm strolling through the Christmas Markets, drinking hot chocolate and eating Lebkuchen, enjoying all the sights, sounds, and amazing smells.  If you've never experienced a Christmas market in Germany or Austria, I highly recommend it.

Ever since then, I've craved a good gingerbread cookie like the Lebkuchen I enjoyed there.  Sadly, I'm usually disappointed by how bland the cookies are.  When I came across comments about how "spicy" Martha Stewart's were, I decided I had to try them.  Yum!  While I still haven't reached perfection, this is definitely closer.

Gingerbread Cookies
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 6 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt and set aside.

In another large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Mix in eggs and molasses.  Add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic.  Refrigerate until cold and firm - 1 hour, or up to two days.  (*Note: I found that the flavor was best when I left it to chill overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/2 inch thick (yes, very thick cookies).  Cut into shapes of your choice (gingerbread men, snowflakes, etc...).  Spread 2 inches apart on baking sheets and refrigerate 15 minutes, until the cookies firm up again.  (*Don't skip this step! Make sure you chill the cookies before baking.)

Bake cookies 10-11 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and let them cool on wire racks.

When cool, you can decorate the cookies with icing, sprinkles, candies, and whatever else sounds fun.  Store cookies between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container for up to a week.

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