Here is my absolute favorite gingerbread cookies recipe. Soft in the center, slightly crisp on the edges, it’s made with spelt and whole spelt flour, it’s perfectly spiced, and has two types of ginger. Pure holiday goodness. Yes, I love these and here’s why: of course these are cookies, but they are not overly sweet. The combination of soft mascabado sugar, molasses and honey keeps these cookies soft in the middle and gives them a terrific caramel-like flavor that is fantastic with the complexity of the spices and ginger, which with their flavors scream Christmas season is here!
Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies:
This gingerbread recipe is a long time family favorite – a traditional recipe. Though, I have changed it little. Instead of all wheat flour and whole wheat flour, I use spelt and whole spelt. Either choice is fine. I also use my go-to baking sugar, mascabado from GEPA. My family often adds more sugar and some candied ginger to their cookies, but in this case, I want to enjoy pure simple gingerbread. Which is also why I never decorate mine.
To make this gingerbread cookie recipe, you will need:
- Flour so the cookies can keep their shape. I like to add a portion of whole grain flavor for extra flavor and to make them a wee bit healthier.
- Molasses + spices (ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and cardamom) for a rich flavor
- Butter for a soft and tender texture that is enhanced with the molasses, honey and brown sugar. And of course taste!
- Plus any kind of icing sugar or sprinkles that you would like to add-on top of your cookies, either before or after baking. These are so good as they are, so I prefer mine plain!
Gingerbread cookie equipment:
You will also need the following equipment to make these gingerbread cookies:
Cookie cutters: Any shape will do. Classic gingerbread men, Christmas trees, stars, what ever shape you like.
Rolling pin: I love using a marble rolling-pin, but any type of standard rolling-pin will do. Or even a wine bottle!
Mixer: Either a stand mixer or hand mixer work well!
Pastry bag (optional): If you want to decorate your cookies, use a pastry bag with tips. Or feel free to improvise and use a simple freezer bag, just snip off a tiny corner with some scissors.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies:
So let’s just walk through the gingerbread cookie recipe so you are prepared before you get baking.
Chill the dough: This is a butter cookie of sorts, so the dough will be soft once it’s all beaten together and therefore, it absolutely MUST be chilled for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm. I like to give myself time more time and chill the dough in the fridge overnight. This can be done up to 3 days in advance. This is important so the cookies hold their shape and that the cookie dough is manageable so you can work with it.
Wrap up the dough: It’s easiest to wrap the dough in plastic wrap before chilling. Take 1/2 of the cookie dough, put it onto a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up, and flatten it out into a disc. Repeat with the other 1/2 of dough. Then transfer to the fridge to chill. Of course, you could chill it as a ball, but it’s easier to roll out the chilled cookie dough when it is in a disc shape. Also, the cookie dough chills faster!
Roll it out: Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, unwrap one of the discs and place is on a lightly floured surface. Use a floured rolling-pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/2 cm thick. Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more. Transfer the dough shapes to a parchment-covered baking sheet. After they’ve baked and cooled, it’s time to decorate the cookies. Or enjoy them as they are!
Here’s why I think this is the best gingerbread cookie recipe:
- The dough comes together easily and can be made ahead
- They’re perfectly spiced with molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom
- The edges are slightly crisp while the centers are soft
- And for a Christmas cookie, they are a littler healthier than most, but just as delicious!
Looking for more Christmas cookie inspiration?
A classic Christmas cookie recipe for gingerbread. Easy to make, perfect for decorating and super delicious. Dough requires chilling, so plan ahead!
- 2 cups spelt flour (Type 630) (260 g)
- 1/2 cup whole wheat spelt flour (70 g)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (ceylon)
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (225 g)
- 80 g soft brown sugar (I recommend Mascobado from GEPA)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
- 4 tablespoons molasses (organic food store)
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
- Granulated or powdered sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Sift together both flours, the salt and the spices into a bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together the butter and sugar on low speed until creamy and fluffy (2 minutes). Add the honey and molasses and mix until fully incorporated.
Add the fresh ginger and mix until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture (in three additions), mixing just to combine each time. Do not overmix!
Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball. Place on top of a sheet of plastic wrap, then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 2,5-3 cm thick disk, wrap tightly in the plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (until firm), or overnight for up to two days before rolling.
Preheat the oven to 325°F / 165°C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough, one at a time, on a lightly floured surface to a little less than 0.5 cm. Cut with favorite cookie cutter shapes. Note: When working with the dough, it softens up quite quickly, therefore best to work quickly.
Bake until edges begin to brown slightly, 12 to 14 minutes. When baking two sheets at once in the oven, be sure to switch their positions and rotate halfway through for even baking.
Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired or simply enjoy as is!
- I like my cookies plain, but feel free to decorate with an icing sugar glaze, or simply a sprinkle with granulated or powdered sugar.
- As an optional add-in feel free to add 1/2 cup candied ginger, finely chopped. I like the one found at my local organic food store.
- These cookies are subtly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter cookie feel free to add 20-30g more mascobado sugar.
If you make this Classic Gingerbread recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t forget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!