I know I say this a lot (especially with the gingerbread bread I shared), but these are – for real – the BEST gingerbread cookies you will ever have. For me, I would even go as far as declaring them the best Christmas cookies ever, but who am I to declare such a thing? I’m not usually a fan of gingerbread cookies. The ones I’ve had in the past tend to be bland, too hard and crunchy, and not special enough to make me pick them over the myriad of other holiday treats out there. BUT THEN I found this recipe and they changed my life. Well, they changed my holiday baking strategy at least. This is now my go-to treat for gifting friends, family, and neighbors and we always end up having to make a second batch since we usually eat ourselves through the first batch before all the gifts have been distributed. :)
These cookies are a bit involved (as any rolled dough recipe is) but so worth the time and effort. These cookies are soft and chewy, decadently spiced, and the citrus glaze brightens them up so nicely.You can use any type of winter citrus for this recipe. I used grapefruit this time, but I’ve done orange in the past that was also amazing. The trick though is to squeeze half a lemon in to whatever citrus you choose. It adds just a little extra punch to make the citrus stand out against the other spices in the gingerbread cookies,
Since I was planning on gifting these cookies, I used a smaller snowflake cookie cutter so they would fit in a wide mouth mason jar. Mason jars are excellent for gifting cookies since they keep the cookies safe from cracking or breaking during transport. Plus, they look cute. AND they are extremely useful to the recipient after the cookies are gone. :)I can’t take credit for this recipe, but I had to share it anyway. I found it last year on Reclaiming Provincial and it’s by far the best Christmas cookie recipe I’ve ever found so I just had to share it with you guys. If you have the time, I suggest making the dough one day, refrigerating it and then baking and glazing the cookies the next day. That way it doesn’t feel too cumbersome.
For gifting these lovelies, I just put them in a wide mouth mason gar, tie some festive twine around the top and attach a holly leaf and a gift tag. Just make sure to cut off the pointy ends of the holly leaf!
(recipe via Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial)
yield: approximately 30 medium-sized (4″-tall) gingerbread men
- 6 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp finely ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup of unsulfured molasses
- 4 cups of confectionery sugar
- 3/4 cup of citrus juice (at least half a lemon)
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy with an electric hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Mix in eggs and molasses. Slowly add flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold and firm, around one hour or up to two days.
Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4-inch thickness. (Don’t go thinner than 1/4 inch, as the dough can become delicate and tear easily when thin.) Cut into gingerbread men (or other shapes). Place cookies two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until the cookies firm up again, around 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Once cookies are completely cooled, whisk together confectionery sugar and citrus juice until smooth. Pour half of the glaze out onto a large plate. Dip cookies to lightly coat, letting excess drip off before placing on a sheet to let glaze set. (I recommend then placing the cookie sheet in the fridge, to get the glaze to set quicker and avoid excess drips.) Once the first coat has set, dip again, then let the second coat set.
Store cookies in a tin or other airtight container, separated by parchment paper sheets, for up to one week.
Thanks for letting me share your recipe, Carey!! It’s a keeper!