December’s been a whirlwind! Last weekend we were in Texas for the USATF Junior Olympics and now here we are, just 7 days from Christmas. There’s still much to accomplish, but now that the girls are on winter break, we’ll spend some of that time catching up on holiday baking, a family tradition we look forward to each year. First up on the baking list are soft gingerbread cookies! The cookies are gingery and spiced with so much holiday flavor! Cut into festive shapes and decorated with vanilla royal icing, they’ll be a delicious addition to any holiday cookie lineup!
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Spiced soft gingerbread cutout cookies, decorated with vanilla bean royal icing in shades of pink. Dairy free.
How do the gingerbread cookies taste
The gingerbread cookies are made with ingredients like dried ginger, clove, cinnamon and unsulphered molasses so they’re chock full of gingerbread flavor. The rich molasses gives the cookies that classic gingerbread color and taste baked to perfect for a softer texture! While the vanilla bean icing is a wonderful addition decoratively, it also elevates the gingerbread cookies in taste, for a deliciously balanced holiday cookie.
The cookies also have a dairy free option available for anyone with intolerances/allergies.
Soft gingerbread cookie ingredients
Although the gingerbread cookies have a long list of ingredients, they are as simple to make as a batch of sugar cookies. Below are the ingredients you’ll need to make gingerbread cookies at home!
- Unbleached flour
- Vegan butter (or regular butter)
- Packed brown sugar
- Unsulphered organic baking molasses
- 1 Egg
- Baking Powder
- Dried ginger
- Orange zest
- Powdered Sugar
- Meringue Powder
- Vanilla Bean
- Food coloring
- Festive holiday cookie cutters
The best molasses to use in gingerbread cookies
Based on the ingredients list, you may be wondering the best molasses to choose for gingerbread cookies. The overall flavor of the gingerbread cookie depends on the type of molasses used. For a richer cookie with enhanced molasses flavor, use dark molasses. Or try Light or baking molasses for a more sweet and molasses flavor.
This recipe calls for light unsulphered molasses which which is sweeter, but lacks the altered taste that can sometimes come from using sulphured molasses.
How to make soft gingerbread cookies
Making a batch of these cookies will take under an hour from start to finish! Start by placing all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix until combined, then begin creaming the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until combined, then add the egg, zest, molasses and vanilla. Continue to mix until molasses mixture is well incorporated, then fold in the dry mix and continue mixing until the dough sticks to the paddle. Remove dough from mixing bowl and roll out onto a flour or parchment lined surface. Cut the dough into festive shapes. The tree and house cookie cutters are available in my shop, along with the large 10″ tree. Transfer the cutout cookies onto a baking sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes for the softer texture.
Large 10″ gingerbread cookie
This gingerbread dough makes enough for one large 10″ cookie and at least 2 dozen regular sized cookies. This is optional! The custom 10″ cookie cutter used to make the cookie can be found here in my Etsy shop.
To make a large cookie in addition to the small ones, roll the dough onto a parchment lined surface 1/4″ thick. Cut the cookie dough with the large cutter and peel away the excess dough around it. Leave the large cookie shape on the parchment and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes and make sure to cool fully before moving.
Gingerbread cookie decorations
One of the things that I love about gingerbread cookies is how easy they are to decorate. They’re often just outlined in icing for a simple and classic look. Or you can use flood royal icing in variety of colors for a more dressed up cookie. The decorating possibilities are really endless! As you can see from the pictures, I decorated the cookies with a variation of outlined icing and flood icing for more of a modern look.
Check out the quick decorating video below for more inspiration.
Spiced soft gingerbread cutout cookies, for the holiday season, decorated with vanilla bean royal icing in shades of pink. Dairy free.
- 3/4 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp clove
Vanilla Royal Icing:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp meringue powder
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- Pink gel food coloring
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and clove in a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly stir in molasses, egg, orange zest and vanilla. Mixed until fully combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mix in thirds. Mix until fully combined and the dough attaches to the paddle.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll the dough out onto a floured or parchment lined surface to 1/4″ thick.
- Cut gingerbread dough into festive shapes of choice.
- Bake for 4-6 minutes (for soft cookies.)
- Transfer to cooling rack to cool fully.
- Place Meringue powder and half of the water in the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Add water and beat on high for about 3-5 minutes until it doubles in size.
- Switch to a paddle attachment and mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla bean on medium for 2-3 minutes until well combined.
- The icing will be very thick. Add warm water a few splashes at a time until the frosting is the consistency of toothpaste.
- If you’d like to color the icing, divide the toothpaste like icing into separate bowls and color with a drop of gel food coloring until the desired hue is achieved. Transfer 1/3 of the colored icing into tipless piping bags and seal closed.
- Thin the remainder of the stiff pink icing in the bowls by adding a few drops of warm water.
- Stir and add a few more drops of water, or spray down with a spray bottle until the consistency of the icing is slightly runny when picked up with a spoon.
- If you run a spatula through the icing it should take around 5-6 seconds to disappear.
- That’s when you”ll know the icing is ready.
- Transfer flood icing to tipless piping bag and seal closed.
- Slowly outline the the edge of each cookie with the piping icing.
- Pipe to outline trees and gingerbread houses in design of choice.
- The outlined icing will look look beautiful as is against the dark color of the cookie. OR
- Flood with royal icing. Use a scribe or toothpick to spread the icing evenly over the cookies.
- Repeat steps for all cookies.
- To decorate a large cookie, follow the same steps by outlining first and then flooding the cookie.
- Allow to fully dry before adding decorative details.
- Dust with edible glitter
- Set aside to dry for at least 2 hours.
- Seal or serve.
- The cookies will freeze for up to 6 months.
Keywords: soft gingebread cookies, royal icing, easy gingerbread cookies, Christmas cookies, dairy free gingerbread, decorating with royal icing, how to make gingerbread cookies, best Christmas cookies
These soft gingerbread cookies will make the most wonderful gifts for the holiday season. Best of all there’s still time to bake up a batch or two before Christmas!
The 10″ sized cookie is the perfect treat for breaking into pieces and sharing with loved ones at Christmas parties!
Happy holiday baking!
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