These gingerbread cookies are not only delicious but they’ve got a nice dark color to contrast with the white royal icing decorations. These are not so delicate because this is the recipe I use to make gingerbread houses, and that structure needs to be able to withstand the test of time! A few days that is.

I love making gingerbread houses around Christmas time. I’ll actually add a photo of the first one I made here just for fun. It wasn’t a little kid house though, I was a full grown adult when I made it. Growing up in Brazil, making gingerbread houses for Christmas wasn’t really part of our culture. But I adopted it once I started getting interested in baking, because it’s too adorable.

First Gingerbread House

This recipe based on this one, from Joy Of Baking, except the spices are a little different and I use less baking soda to help prevent them from spreading too much in the oven and losing their shape. Also, make sure the cut out pieces spend about 15-20 minutes in the freezer before being baked.

If you’re making pieces for a gingerbread house, have a pairing knife handy as soon as the cookies come out of the oven. Within the first minute or two that they’re out of the oven they’re still soft enough that you can trim off some strategic edges. Read a bit more about that on the Coconut Cake with Homemade Dulce de Leche post, as well as tips on how to assemble the house.

Decorating with Royal Icing: I decorate the pieces with royal icing and let them dry thoroughly (1-3 hours or up to overnight, depending on how much icing there is).

For the royal icing I use the recipe that is on the container of Meringue Powder from Wilton, which is 3 Tbsp of meringue powder, 4 cups of powdered sugar and 5 Tbsp of water (I always add more). Just whip everything together for about 6 minutes until icing forms peaks and feels like a good consistency for piping. Keep a damp towel over the bowl to prevent drying. I like to put it in a piping bag, tie it closed with a rubber band and place a little piece of a damp paper towel covering the decorating tip, to prevent drying as well.

Gingerbread cookies

Christmas CookiesGingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 36 gingerbread men
Course Dessert, Snack
Keyword christmas, gingerbread

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill time 2 hours
Total Time 55 minutes

Servings 36 people


  • 113 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 100 g sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 230 g molasses (160 ml, about 2/3 cup)
  • 3 c. 390 g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (up to 3/4 if the shape or the structure are not so important)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg


  1. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  3. Add the molasses and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk them together, then add them to the butter mixture in two parts, mixing until incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into two, place each mount of dough on a piece of plastic wrap and shape them into disks.
  6. Refrigerate them for about two hours or longer (even until the next day or two), until you can’t easily leave an indentation when you press it with your finger.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).
  8. To roll out the dough, you can do it between two pieces of parchment paper, or on a floured counter. I usually do it on a floured silicone baking mat, being careful not to add too much flour, and frequently moving the dough to prevent sticking. That way, by the time I’m done rolling it out it’s easy to transfer it to a baking sheet and place it in the freezer to chill the dough before cutting out shapes.
  9. Freeze the shapes for 20 minutes before baking.
  10. Place the cut out cookies on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and bake them for about 10-12 minutes.
  11. Let them cool completely on a wire rack, then store them in an airtight container.

Gingerbread cookies with milk

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread cookies with hot chocolateGingerbread houses

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