Soft and chewy Gingerbread Cookies made with a simple gingerbread recipe and decorated however you like! Everyone loves this classic recipe and they taste delicious!
When I was young, we often decorated the “kids” Christmas tree with gingerbread cookies. We had so much fun making and frosting the cookies into little gingerbread men and I remember that the gingerbread baking made the house smell amazing. This year I had so much fun decorating these gingerbread cookies with my kids. Each of them got to decorate a gingerbread man with frosting and candy and you can bet they enjoyed eating them afterwards!
What I LOVE about these Gingerbread Cookies:
- Soft and chewy: gingerbread cookies have a reputation for being hard and crispy, but not this recipe! Follow my baking tips and they will turn out perfectly soft and chewy.
- Make ahead or freeze: you can prepare the gingerbread dough or cookies in advance. See tips below in the post.
- Fun to decorate: If you are looking for a preschool of kindergarten activity, decorating Christmas gingerbread man cookies would be a huge hit! You can make the cookies and frosting ahead of time so that the kids can just enjoy decorating.
How to make Gingerbread cookies:
Gingerbread is made with the following simple ingredients: brown sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, butter, milk, and molasses!
Make the gingerbread: mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add chunks of butter and incorporate them with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Mix in the molasses and milk until combined.
Refrigerate: Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours or overnight.
Roll the dough: When ready to bake, roll out the dough to ½ inch thickness, use cookie cutters to cut gingerbread men, and place them on your cookie sheet. Bake them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Once cool, frost and decorate, if desired! You can use any kind of frosting or ice, and candies.
Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:
To make ahead: Make the gingerbread and store it, well covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Roll out and cut into cookies when ready to bake. You can also bake the cookies and freeze them.
To freeze: form the dough into a ball (step 4 of the recipe) and wrap it really well in plastic wrap. Place it in a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Allow the dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before attempting to roll. Baked cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Gingerbread Man Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar , packed
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons butter , room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
- 3/4 cup molasses (dark molasses)
- 2 Tablespoons milk
For the frosting:
- 2 Tbs butter , room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- Add flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt to a mixing bowl and mix.
- Add the butter pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter in until the mixture resembles fine meal.
- With a mixer running on low speed gradually add the molasses and milk and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough in half, forming each into a ball. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, or place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, until firm, if you’re in a hurry.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove one dough sheet from the fridge/freezer and place on the counter. Roll out the dough (use a little flour on your rolling pin if needed), until it’s about ½ inch thick. Cut gingerbread men and place them on prepared baking sheets.
- Refrigerate the gingerbread men for 5 minutes (meanwhile you can roll out the other dough ball).
- Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Do not overbake!!
- Remove the cookies to a wire rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.
- Store gingerbread cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 3 months.
For the frosting:
- Add butter, milk, and 1 cup of powdered sugar to a bowl. Mix until smooth. Add additional cup of powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add frosting to piping bag if desired.
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I originally shared this recipe December 2018. Updated December 2020.
Process photos by Nikole from The Travel Palate