The Solved Case of the Unfortunate Gingerbread Man:
Kyong: Ooo, you made gingerbread cookies! Can I eat - *munch munch* one?
Mei: No, wait till we take the phot...os....or not....
Kyong: *Deer in headlights look* ...It's okay...adds character.
And that's what happen when cookies are too good - Kyong took an arm 😆
Gingerbread cookies are probably one of my favorite gifts to make for Christmas. It's tasty, fun to make, and wins over family and friends in an instant! (Plus, if you really want to get creative, you can design your own gingerbread house! Nothing's better than a family holiday activity! Let me know if any of you take up this challenge! 😉)
The ingredient you must have: molasses!
Molasses is what gives your cookies their iconic gingerbread taste. Yes, the spices are a big deal, but without molasses, you'll feel like you're missing the butter to your bread.
Molasses, in general, is made by cooking down sugarcane juice until it thickens and caramelizes, but there are a few types - the most commonly used in baking are sulphured and unsulphured.
Sulphured sugarcanes are harvested when they are less mature and preserved with sulfur dioxide prior to pressing. On the other hand, unsulphured molasses comes from more matured sugarcane which has more flavor and doesn't require a preservative. And bonus, because matured sugarcanes are sweeter, the molasses is too! So you won't have to use as much of unsulphured molasses as the sulphured ones.
If you need a brand recommendation, I like Grandma's molasses, it's available at most grocery stores, including Walmart. (I'm not sponsored by them, but I'm sure we all know why it's better. It's Grandma's recipe!)
Now that I've persuaded you to use unsulfured molasses, let's get started with making gingerbread cookies!
Make your cookies:
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- Cream butter with sugar. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with brown sugar. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add the remaining wet ingredients. Add molasses and thoroughly combine. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
***The batter at this point make look broken, but don't worry! Just give it a minute or two of mixing.
- Add dry ingredients to wet. On low speed, mix dry ingredients into the wet until just combined, so just until you longer see flour.
***The dough will be very soft.
- Roll and refrigerate. Sandwich dough in between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll the dough to ¼ inch thick. Try to keep the parchment as wrinkle-free as possible. It'll save you work later!
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting and baking.
- 3 hours later (or even later)...preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut cookies. Separate (peel) both pieces of parchment off the the dough.
Flour both sides of the dough.
With a rolling pin, gently roll the dough a couple of times (without the top parchment) to remove air bubbles and paper wrinkles, unless you like the rustic look!
Cut with your favorite gingerbread cookie cutter. Transfer to a parchment lined baking pan.
***Make sure to leave at least 1 inch of space between each cookie.
- Bake. If you like your cookies soft, bake them for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are solid while the center still kind of soft.
For crispier cookies, bake for 9-10 minutes, until the whole cookie feels solid.
***My cookies were cut with a 3 inch cookie cutter. If your cutter is different in size, simply reduce or increase the time by a couple of minutes. Or simply, bake 1 cookie to test your oven.
- Enjoy or gift them! These cookies are great with a glass of milk! Or gift them to your family and friends to earn some brownie points!😉
These cookies will stay good at room temperature for up to 1 week, in an airtight container. You can also make the cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it up to 2 months.
Multiplying the cookies:
This recipe works fine in a larger batch, however, decrease the flour to 2 cups and the egg to ½ before multiplying.
***Make sure to add the eggs one at time and fully incorporate each before adding the next!
Bake with love!
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy and the color becomes light. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add molasses and egg. Add the molasses to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add the egg and mix well.
- Combine dry ingredients with the wet. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low speed until just combined, or when no visible flour is left.***Cookie dough will remain a little stickier than usual because this dough is really soft.
- Roll out the dough. In between two sheets of parchment paper, roll the cookie dough evenly to ¼ inch thick. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 3 hours before cutting.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking pans with parchment
- Flour and cut cookies. Peel parchment off both sides of the cookie dough and flour both sides to prevent sticking. With a rolling pin, gently roll over the floured dough a couple of times to remove air pockets and to smooth out the surface. Cut the cookie dough with desired cookie cutters.
- Transfer and bake. Transfer cut dough to lined baking pans. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool completely before removing from baking pan.*** These baking times are for cookies cut with a 3 inch cutter.Soft cookies: 7-8 minutes or until edges are solid to the touch while the center is still slightly soft.Crispy cookies: 9-10 minutes or until both the edges and the center are solid.For cookies of larger or smaller sizes, vary the bake time by a couple of minutes.
- Enjoy! These cookies are awesome with a glass of milk or made into holiday gifts!
- This recipe can be multiplied, however, decrease the amount of flour to 2 cups and the egg to ½ before multiplying.
***Add eggs in one at a time and mix thoroughly before adding the next.
- Cookies are good for 1 week at room temperature, stored in an airtight container.
- Cookie dough can be frozen up to 2 months.