When I think of Christmas and winter baking the first thing I think of is gingerbread cookies. They are warm, spicy, sweet and comforting and you can decorate them anyway you want. You can cut them into classic gingerbread men (or women!) shapes. Or even make a cute gingerbread house. Or you can cut them into reindeer or festive Christmas shapes if you have the cutters handy.
This is one of the best gingerbread cookie recipes you will ever try. It’s soft and chewy but also crispy on the outside – the ultimate multitasking cookie! And of course being a traditional gingerbread Recipe it contains molasses, natural spices and soft and moist brown sugar. The flavor this type of sugar provides is consistent with traditional gingerbread cookie dough. It also adds moisture to make the cookies soft and chewy and delicious! Make sure you don’t get tempted to substitute for something else!
If you want to make gingerbread cookies with your children over the holiday season, then I really recommend this recipe to you. These cookies are so much fun to make and decorate. I’ve used this recipe for years in my own house. My children love making it and they have great fun with all the novelty shape cutters we own. It seems we buy a new set each year. My cookie-cutter drawer is virtually overflowing.. Yes – we have a whole drawer dedicated to cookie cutters! I know you are wondering what we do when there are cutters not in season at a specific time. (psst – we push them right to the back and pretend we can’t see them! 🙂
The level of spice in this recipe is kid-friendly, but if you want it to be a little more spicy and just add a little more powdered ginger.
There is another added benefit of making your own gingerbread cookies which you don’t fully appreciate until you actually do it. And that is that it makes your house smell truly incredible! It is said that the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies is the most welcoming smell for people who enter your home!
I have adjusted this recipe over the years to make it perfect and I think it is there. Even though you are using gluten free flour, you can’t really tell the difference. This gingerbread dough recipe always makes a perfect cookie that is soft and chewy in the middle and crispy around the edges. If you want it even crunchier and crispier, then simply leave it in the oven for a few minutes longer. Be careful not to overdo it, however.
Once you have a batch of gingerbread made you can get your children to have fun decorating it – or just by yourself if that’s what you want! These make a great after school treat after a hard-working week if you want a nice surprise for your kids one day.
You can really have fun with what you put on the top too. If you want some natural healthy toppings. Why not try raisins or other colored dry fruits such as papaya. Candied Angelica. Crystallized ginger. You name it you can add it on top. Add some chocolate chips that are high in cocoa and low in sugar.
What are the ingredients for gingerbread cookies?
If you want to make a batch of gingerbread you will need:
But you knew that already!. I use gluten-free flour, but it will if you want to make a wheat version, then you can easily substitute for standard wheat flour or wholemeal if you want to make it healthier. Both work perfectly fine as I have tried them many times over the years.
The spices that are used in this recipe are ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and of course nutmeg for that festive flourish!
Molasses & Honey
I would suggest using blackstrap molasses (sometimes known as black treacle). This contains all the natural nutrients that the sugar refining process discards, but it makes a really sticky dark syrup which works perfectly in gingerbread. It has been traditionally used in this recipe for years and colors the dough perfectly.
To make a lighter version of gingerbread, I also added honey. If you want a darker dough then use all molasses instead of honey. This is personal preference. I find the honey-molasses mixture is a good balance.
Butter or coconut oil
Use premium unsalted butter for a healthy fat alternative to margarine or spread. If you want dairy free gingerbread then I find coconut oil works well.
You also need items for decorating such as mentioned above. I find that raisins work really well coupled with a simple powdered sugar or confectioners sugar icing. Flavor it with orange or lemon juice or lime juice if you’re feeling adventurous.
What you will need to bake gluten free gingerbread cookies
Some important things you need to make this recipe are:
- Cookie cutters of your choosing.
- A rolling pin is essential too!
- You don’t need a mixer as you can stir these cookies by hand, but you can use one if you like.
- If you want to pipe your icing, you also need a piping bag or some baking parchment to make your own at home. You simply have to fold baking parchment twice into a triangle and cut the end off with some scissors.
How to make this gingerbread cookie recipe
Mix your dry ingredients all together thoroughly. This includes the spices, baking soda, and flour. Also some salt if you are using it. Then stir in the brown sugar. You can break up the clumps if you need to.
Next, whisk the eggs with the molasses and honey and add into the dry mixture. Mix together until thoroughly combined and a dough forms. The next and, most important part, (even if it is frustrating!) is to chill the dough for a gluten-free recipe. You will need to chill it in the freezer for at least half an hour until firm. I recommend doing this on baking parchment.
Next you need to thoroughly flour your work surface. And roll out the dough. Work quickly and avoid handling the dough too much to stop it becoming warm and sticky on the countertop.
Your dough will need to be rolled until it is a quarter of an inch thick.
Gingerbread must be baked at 350 F degrees. So preheat the oven to this temperature and start cutting out your gingerbread dough into whichever cookie shape you like. This is the fun part! It makes waiting for the dough to chill completely worthwhile.
The cookies will need to be baked for 12 to 14 minutes or until it is done to your liking it should be lightly golden around the edges.
Allow the cookies to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are cooled, you can then decorate in a way of your choosing.
Another way to decorate your cookies is to dip them in melted chocolate so they have a chocolate base. This is a traditional German decoration method for gingerbread and it’s one my kids really like. Make sure you choose at least 70 percent cocoa solids for the best chocolate flavor that is lower in sugar.
Amazing Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour and some for dusting your surfaces
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 tsp salt optional
- 3/4 cup light soft brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp honey
- Choose a large mixing bowl add in your dry ingredients - the flour, spices, baking soda and salt (if you're using it). Mix them all together thoroughly and then stir in the brown sugar. You can break up any clumps if there are any. Make sure it is well combined.
- Next melt your butter in a microwavable bowl or jug. Stir in the molasses and honey and whisk in the egg. Combine everything until it is completely smooth. Now stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms. The dough will be sticky at this point, but don't worry once it is chilled it will firm up nicely
- Wrap your dough in baking parchment and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until it is firm.
- Next generously flour a countertop or work surface and roll out your dough. Make sure you flour the rolling pin as well! The dough should be rolled until it is a quarter of an inch thick.
- Next it's the really fun part. Take cutters of your choosing and cut out the dough into shapes.
- Place on a baking trays lined with parchment and place into a preheated oven.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until they are golden around the edge. You need to let the cookies cool down for at least 5 or 10 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are cool you can decorate them in a way of your choosing.
- Take 1/2 cup of powdered or confectioners sugar and add 2-3 tsp of water or orange juice. Stir patiently until a pipeable icing forms. Add to a piping bag or a food storage bag with the corner snipped off. Alternatively fold a square of baking parchment over into a triangle and cut off the corner.
- Pipe your icing onto your gingerbread and stick on your decorations. Raisins work great as eyes or buttons.