I think gingerbread is the perfect holiday cookie. They are sweet and spicy, each bite bringing back the nostalgia of past Christmases. They remind me of decorating my Christmas tree as a kid, dressed in PJs and cozy socks. I don’t think its really Christmas until I’ve had gingerbread.
I’ve made lots of gingerbread cookies over the years, and I’ve tweaked and tested my recipe over that time. But something that I learned was that gingerbread dough is quite versatile. There are a few different ways to use this basic dough. Depending on my mood and what I wanted to make, I can choose from 1 of 3 different ways to make my favourite cookies.
If I have to make a lot of cookies, for a cookie exchange perhaps, I like to use my cookie press because it’s a way to make a lot of gingerbread cookies quickly and they look great with very little work. If I’m looking for something simple, just for my family, I’ll roll them in sugar and press them down with a fork. At least once a holiday season, I roll out the chilled dough and cut out the cookies with holiday cutters. I just love how versatile it is and that they turn out great regardless of how they are made.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cloves
- 2 1/2 cup flour
Mix together the ingredients in order until completely combined. Your basic dough is done and now you can make your cookies one of 3 different ways.
1. Cookie Press
This first method is my favourite if I have to make a lot because it’s so easy. I make my dough and then put some into the cookie press. During the holidays, I usually like to pick a like Christmas tree. Then I press it on to my tray and make the little forms. I bake them at 350*F for about 5-6 minutes since cookie press cookies tend to be smaller and allow them to cool completely. Then I toss them in a ziptop bag with a little powdered sugar. Give it a shake and you’ve got some cute little snow-covered, gingerbread cookies that are perfect for the holidays.
This is method is just like grandma would make. Roll the dough into little balls about 1″ in diameter. Then roll the ball in some white sugar. Place on a baking sheet, then flatten with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350*F for 6-8 minutes and then allow to cool. You’ll get these sparkly cookies that are the perfect homemade comfort food.
Is it Christmas if there aren’t gingerbread men? Roll out cookies are the most popular way of making gingerbread. First, you have to chill the dough for 20-30 minutes. Then roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350*F for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool and then decorate.
I like to use white chocolate to decorate. Put some white chip or wafers into a piping bag and microwave on high for 30-second bursts, squeezing and mixing the bag in between burst until it’s smooth. Then just cut the tip and pip your desired pattern and you could even add some little candies. The white chocolate will harden, making them stackable. I swear once you use white chocolate to decorate, you will never use anything else. The combination for the white chocolate and the spices is amazing!
Try this recipe and I’m sure it’ll become part of your holiday traditions and maybe even the cookies you leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.