Cookies, Biscuits & Bars,  Christmas,  Sweets

Literally The Best Gingerbread Cookies You Can Make

A few years ago I went on a search to find the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe. You know, the recipe that gives you literally the best gingerbread cookies that you can make. The one that produced gingerbread cookies that tasted exactly like the ones my mom made when I was a kid.

And I turned to the internet. ‘Cause that’s what we do nowadays. I searched every corner — I mean every corner of the internet — but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I started pouring through old New York Times cooking sections and Washington Post cooking columns. I baked gingerbread that has been kept secret by a shopkeeper in New York; gingerbread that the Obama’s pastry chef served at the White House; one really strange recipe that used honey instead of molasses (I mean heck, why not try it?). Nothing had that magical taste of childhood that I remembered.

Even when my mother gave me her recipe (which is delicious, although she was sort of non-plussed that I was asking as it’s literally a recipe from a decade old cookie book that she had laying around) they just didn’t taste as heavenly as I remembered.

So I set out to fix that. One of the benefits to baking literally every gingerbread cookie recipe that exists in America is that you learn a few things along the way, and I was able to incorporating a few of those things into my dough.

Perhaps the coolest thing I learned? The dough mixes up easiest when the butter is melted. I know, I know. STOP THE CHRISTMAS TRAIN. But it’s true. You don’t need to cream the butter for ten minutes with the sugar, you just need to melt it.

Many gingerbread recipes that are designed to be shaped cookies really amp up the flour. This is because you want the cookies to hold their shape when you bake them. But you can’t have too much flour or the cookies will bake up dry and brittle. And no one wants that. We are after moist and chewy here.

An eggless cookie was a must as these are often baked with kids around and it’s just way too difficult to tell a child they can’t have any gingerbread dough. And when I say child I mean YOU. Also you don’t really need the egg. I can’t believe I’m typing those words but it’s true (if you wanted you could swap the butter for vegetable shortening and make these vegan cookies, but just know that you’ll loose a TON of buttery goodness when you make that swap).

And the spices: Oh yes, we need spices. So many recipes treat your spice drawer like we’re living in 13th-century France where every single spice in your larder costs you a month’s salary. Hello 21st century… those days are long gone. Let’s get some flavor into those cookies, shall we? My gingerbread cookies are a kitchen- sink approach to your spice drawer and you will NOT be disappointed that you hauled out so many little jars once you bite into one of them.

Merry Christmas, you guys! 🎄😀👍🏻

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Literally The Best Gingerbread Cookies You Can Make

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes (per batch)
  • Total Time: 1 day (the vast majority of the time for the dough to rest!)
  • Yield: About 30 cookies 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Cuisine: American


A few years ago I went on a search to find the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe. The only problem? The perfect recipe didn’t exist. So I made it up.


  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (425 grams)
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (150 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (170 grams)
  • 3/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap/treacle) (255 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Royal Icing for decorating


  1. Melt your butter and set it aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Mix your flour, brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl, stand mixer or food processor (the beauty here is that since the butter is melted, any method of combining the ingredients is going to work).
  3. Add your molasses and milk to the pan with the melted butter (bonus, fat helps molasses to move!). Stir to combine, but don’t be super type-A about combining the wet ingredients, you just want to start the process a bit.
  4. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix until no streaks of flour remain. Remove the dough to a counter and kneed a few times until it becomes cohesive.
  5. Divide the dough in half and press into 6-inch discs. Wrap and refrigerate dough at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 350°f (160°C + Fan). Flour your counter and roll the dough 1/4” thick. Cut with cookie cutter and place the cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet (shaped cookies can be frozen at this point). Bake 8 to 11 minutes or until centers are puffy and edges have just set (you’ll just be able to lift an edge with the tip of your finger). Gingerbread cookies are deceptive and will not look fully baked. Do not overbake.
  7. Let the cookies cool 5 minutes on your baking sheets and then remove them to wire cooling racks.
  8. Ice your cooled cookies with Royal Icing.


Go sparingly with the flour when you roll the cookies out. You want to use the least amount of flour possible to prevent the dough from sticking. You’ll know when you’ve got it right because the dough will just, well, stop sticking. 

Keywords: Christmas, gingerbread, cookies


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