It’s not often that you’ll find me in the kitchen baking. Cooking? Yes. Baking, not so much.
But every December, without fail, I seem to find myself baking and decorating sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, or some other rolled cookie. And I usually have these good intentions of mailing a box of them back home to our family in BC.
…I hate to have to admit this, but I don’t think a batch has made it out to the mailbox yet. This could be because I’m a really bad daughter, OR it could be because I make reeeally good cookies. I prefer to believe it’s the latter.
Once again, here I am planning to send a batch of gingerbread cookies back home. But this time I know it’s going to happen. After shooting this recipe (a.k.a. snacking on cookie dough until my stomach hurts), eating most of those cookies, baking and decorating a second batch, and shooting them some more, I think I’m just about gingerbread cookie-d out for remainder of 2014.
I’ll warn you right now, the dough is deliciously addictive (cookie dough always is!)
Friday night I made a batch, saran wrapped it and put it in the fridge to chill overnight so I could bake/decorate/photograph them on Saturday morning. And I may have made my way back to the kitchen for a little pinch of cookie dough once or twice before going to bed. (I mean, who wouldn’t!?)
As usual William, being the night owl he is, stayed up a little later than I did.
Somehow by Saturday morning my perfect gingerbread cookie dough appeared to be about a 2/3 it’s original size. Hmmm…
This recipe is absolutely divine. They are some of the EASIEST cookies I have ever made (it just works perfectly every. single. time.) The dough rolls out like a dream. And the cookies, oh my god the cookies… Perfectly spiced, not too sweet, and the texture is unreal. You can manipulate the texture to suit your preferences, whether you like them soft or crisp, it’s all in how you store the cookies post-baking.
After they’ve been cooled, decorated, and dried you can store them in an airtight container which results in a perfectly soft chewy molasses cookie texture. Alternatively, you can store them with a little bit of air ventilation for a lightly crisp, snappy gingerbread that just begs to be paired with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate! I really love them when they’re soft and chewy so I usually opt for the airtight container.
These would make such a lovely gift to make for someone special this Holiday season. You can bag them individually for personalized stocking stuffers, or bake a whole batch and gift a whole box to your favourite person!
Now I’ll leave you with our top tips for baking and decorating rolled cookies! This is every important tip I’ve learned over the years from my yearly Christmas baking sessions, and one crazy year where we stayed up until 4am baking and decorating dozens of sugar cookies for a craft fair. (We learned A LOT that year, my number one lesson: don’t stay up until 4am making sugar cookies for a craft fair that starts at 9am 😀)
Tips for Perfect Gingerbread Cookies Every Time
- The dough will be quite stiff before your first roll out. I like to knead it a little bit before rolling it out. Every subsequent roll out will be easier and easier.
- Roll the cookie dough directly onto parchment paper (if it’s sliding around a lot, a little bit of coconut oil or water on the backside of the paper will help it stick to the counter better.) Rolling the dough onto parchment makes it easy to maneuver the rolled dough and cookies as you please.
- Roll out the dough smoothly and evenly using cookie slats → here’s a fantastic tutorial How to Roll Cookie Dough Evenly (this is exactly the exact method I use, she also rolls her cookies onto parchment paper) I used 2 pieces of 1/4″ dowelling for cookie slats, but in previous years I used 1/4″ wooden edging (which I preferred.)
- Pop the rolled, uncut cookie dough into the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm up before cutting it into cookies. Just slide the piece of parchment onto a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer.
- I love rolled cookies because I get to use my FAVOURITE cookie cutters, Wilton Comfort Grip Cookies Cutters. I can’t recommend them enough, I’ve had them for 4 years and I couldn’t be happier with them. The shapes are great (I love the Christmas tree and the snowflake , and the gingerbread house is really fun to decorate! This gingerbread man is next on my list to buy.) The comfort grip makes a HUGE difference if you’re making lots of cookies at once. (This post is not sponsored by Wilton, I just love their cookie cutters. All cookie cutter links are affiliate links.)
- Pop the unbaked cookies back into the freezer to firm up before baking. (This is important to keep your cookie cutter shapes nice and crisp.)
- These must be baked at 325F, any hotter and the cookies will puff up and crack.
- Give these cookies a little room to spread. At least 1/2″ between each cookie.
- These come out of the oven very very soft. Don’t bake them any longer than the 10 minutes, once they cool they’ll firm up a lot. Leave them on the pan to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. If you’re impatient, let them cool in the freezer.
- These don’t need to be decorated, they’d be really lovely just topped with coarse sugar before baking.
- We used royal icing for these cookies, the recipe is below.
- DIY coloured sugars are a great vegan option for decorating, here’s a tutorial for making your own coloured sanding sugar. My vegan sugar of choice is Red Path.
- 1⅓ cups whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cloves
- ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp evaporated cane sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup fancy molasses (blackstrap is not recommended)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- In a medium sized bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and the sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is nice and light. Add the water, molasses and vanilla, beat for another 30 seconds to mix thoroughly.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar mixture, beating to combine.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 2 hours)
- Before rolling, let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Roll the dough directly onto parchment paper. (Read our baking tips above for perfectly rolled cookies.) The dough should be ¼" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out the dough, use a flat spatula to gently remove the excess dough. Keep re-rolling and cutting out the dough until it's all used up.
- Pop the unbaked cookies into the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges and barely firm in the center.
- Let them cool completely before decorating. Store them in an airtight container for a perfectly soft chewy molasses cookie texture. Alternatively, you can store them with a little bit of air ventilation for a lightly crisp, snappy gingerbread cookies.
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3½ tbsp soy milk
- 4 tsp golden corn syrup
- In a small bowl, beat together the powdered sugar and soy milk until smooth.
- Add the corn syrup and continue beating until thick and glossy.
- Separate into bowls and add food colouring if needed.
- Seal icing in an airtight container or cover with a damp cloth to prevent the icing from drying out.
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