Soft and chewy gingerbread cookies topped with cream cheese frosting. These cookies are soft and stay soft for over a week (If they last that long!)
These tender cookies are full of the warm spices of the holiday season - cinnamon, ginger and cloves. As they bake they will fill the air with the smells of Christmas.
SOFT GINGERBREAD COOKIES RECIPE
For the last several years I have really wanted to make gingerbread cookies with the kids at Christmas time. Somehow, I never seem to get to it. Until this year.
Why, oh why, do I not make the time for these perfect cookies every year?! They really aren't that hard to make.
They do take some planning ahead since the dough needs to chill for several hours. But the memories made and the delicious taste of gingerbread man cookies are very much worth the effort.
These really are the best gingerbread cookies ever!
Some of my other Christmastime favorite treats include soft and chewy sugar cookies, candy cane kiss cookies, homemade caramels, English toffee, fudge and candied pecans.
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INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES & ICING
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS
- cookie sheet (These are my favorite baking pans!)
- rolling pin
- pastry mat
- piping bags and tips
- pastry cutter
I recently got a set of pastry mats and they are a game changer for rolling out cookies and bread dough. Instead of spending a ton of time washing off the counter, I can quickly wash the mat right in the sink and everything comes right off - no scrubbing!
I really recommend using piping bags and a small round tip. I tried using a zip bag with the corner cut out first, but I ended up switching over to a piping bag and tip. A zip bag will work in a pinch, but it just doesn't look as nice. When using a piping tip, you ensure a nice even flow of frosting.
A note about molasses:
Molasses is kind of an old-time ingredient that isn't used as often in todays world. However it is a key ingredient in these cookies and should not be omitted. Molasses contributes largely to the flavor of gingerbread. It also is a key ingredient in making the cookies soft.
You can use up your leftover molasses by making ginger snaps.
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES
I didn't get any step-by-step pictures, because I was in the moment with the kids. Once they were all finished, I was able to snap a few shots of our creations.
To begin, you will need to make the dough. Since the dough has to chill for several hours, I find that it's easiest to make the dough the night before.
The process for making gingerbread cookie dough is a little bit different than regular cookies. Begin by adding all of the dry ingredients to a bowl and then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until the butter is in very small pieces.
Once the butter has been incorporated into flour, add the wet ingredients (molasses, milk and egg). Stir just until combined.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Place the wrap directly on the ball of dough so that no air gets in.
Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Place the dough on a pastry mat and roll out to somewhere between 1/4 and 3/8 inch thickness.
You can use flour to keep the dough from sticking, but do so sparingly. Too much excess flour on the surface of the cookies will affect how they look after they bake.
The dough will be very stiff and kind of hard to roll out at first. Just keep working with it, it will soften up.
Cut out the dough with gingerbread man shaped or your favorite cookie cutters.
Bake cookies at 350 for 8-9 minutes on a greased baking sheet. Do not overbake!
Place the baked cookies on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
FROSTING GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES
A lot of people use a simple powdered sugar and milk icing for gingerbread cookies.
Me? I'm all about the flavor! Homemade Cream cheese frosting paired with gingerbread is the only way to go in my opinion.
The downside (or good side, depending on how you look at it) is that it doesn't harden up the same way other icings do. It's a little bit harder to pipe the details with. But who wants hard crunchy frosting anyway? Not me!
Place the frosting in piping bag with a small round tip. Then decorate the cooled cookies.
This is the time to let your creativity shine. Who says gingerbread men always have to look the same?
HOW TO STORE GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES
Gingerbread cookies should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. They will stay soft for over a week. (If they last that long!)
Did you know you can get lids for your cookie sheets? This is how I store my gingerbread man cookies.
This is a great recipe for chewy cookies with just the right amount of spice. They're sure to become your next family favorite.