In the very first post for this year’s 12 Days of Christmas I talked about how my love for this time of year is hugely inspired by all the baking that my mom and grandma did during the holiday season. They made lots of delicious things, but one of the most memorable of the treats was the gingerbread cookies. They shaped them into both gingerbread men and gingerbread teddy bears that we decorated with chocolate chips. They were so good.
For the most part I do try to introduce new, fresh recipes to the 12 Days of Christmas. I do it to give y’all some interesting options, challenge myself, and to find new holiday baking favorites for our house. Sometimes though, the classics are best. After all, what kind of Christmas would it be without a good, old-fashioned classic gingerbread cookie recipe to put to good use?
The gingerbread cookies that my mom and grandma made when I was a kid were thick, slightly soft, slightly chewy and full of strong, spicy flavor. I’ve made quite a few gingerbread cookies of my own, but most of them failed to tick off all of the above boxes at the same time. It’s difficult for one recipe to do that, I admit. But if any of y’all have been looking for a perfect gingerbread cookie recipe that’s good for cut outs, decorating, gift giving, Christmas tress decoration–anything really–then you can stop looking. Cause it’s right here.
What puts these gingerbread cookies above all the others I’ve had boils down to about three things: Spice, Texture, and Durability. Because the dough is generously seasoned, they’re slightly spicy–they have a ‘bite’ that lingers on your tongue, as it should. The texture is soft, but it does have a pleasant chew, especially towards the edges. These are also plenty durable enough to decorate (rather heavily if you like), ship in the mail, or even make them into Christmas tree ornaments (just pierce holes into the tops).
This recipe makes quite a bit of dough, so don’t be afraid to go big with the cookie cutters if you don’t want a whole bunch of leftovers sitting around your house, tempting you (and they WILL tempt you) . They hold their shape extremely well after baking, so don’t worry about designs getting lost in indiscernible blobs. That won’t happen.
Eight days into the 12 Days of Christmas now–don’t forget to check out the other recipes from the previous days below!
(Btw, aren’t these cookies 100xs better than 8 maids a milking?)
DAY 8: GINGERBREAD CUT OUTS
Gingerbread Cut Outs
Recipe Courtesy of The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (8 ounces) packed brown sugar (light or dark, doesn’t matter)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup (8 ounces) molasses
- 1 large egg
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup water
In the bowl of a standing mixer (or using a handheld one) cream together the butter, sugar, salt and spices together until light and creamy.
Add the molasses and the egg, stirring just until combined. Use a spatula to intermittently scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Add half of the flour with the baking soda that’s been dissolved in the water on low speed. Stir in the remaining flour, mixing just until combined.
Scrape the dough into one large mound, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with powdered sugar. Divide the dough into quarters, keeping the other 3 in the fridge while you work with the 1. Using a rolling pin to roll out the quarter of dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Use whatever cookie cutters you like to cut out the shapes, then transfer to baking sheets that you’ve lined with parchment paper. Leave about 1/2 inch space between the cookies.
Refrigerate the cut out cookies for about 10 minutes, then bake on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes. Let them rest on the baking sheet for about 65 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.