Exactly a year ago, I decided on a whim to make gingerbread cookies. I could do that back then; I had a little “baa”-ing baby trying to roll over in the living room and then he’d go no further! He’d be exactly where I left him! I mean, I still have a “baa”-ing baby but only if you prompt him with “And the sheep says?” and he is never, ever where last I left him. I digress.
You see, I have a flawlessly executed candlelit dinner every Christmas Eve with one of my closest friends from high school and her family. This tradition is 15 years on now and I enjoy it as much as my own people’s Christmas Day tradition of Chinese and a movie. Last year, she told me that her brother and his wife had wanted to decorate gingerbread men but realized they’d have no time to bake them. I saw my window, searched MarthaStewart.com for a recipe and got moving.
Why Martha Stewart? Because I trust her implicitly on certain topics. I’m not particularly interested in how she makes steak au poivre, but when I want the lowdown decorating cookies, doweling a wedding cake, if I want some templates for crafty-awesomeness (she hasn’t yet requested my Jacob-Lantern template or had me demo my snowflakes on her show, but I know she will any day now!) or a lead on making the kind of gingerbread that will make your German grandmother applaud because you finally got it right, I know Martha’s my lady.
And so I made her gingerbread and took a bite of it and it tasted, uh, alarming. I mean, not terrible but not the mild, middle-of-the-road gingerbread I’d expected from the patron saint of Nutley, New Jersey. I pulled up Twitter and asked “If I just made gingerbread so spicy my eyes watered a bit, does that mean I did it right or wrong?” and learned that Martha had actually helped me knock the ball out of the park. Apparently — and you’ve probably figured out by now how little “real” gingerbread I’ve experienced in my 34 years — this is the way it is done. A chewy, sturdy cookie that could be used for anything from a gingerbread house to gingerbread men to snowflakes. A spicy kick that lingers. A subtle sweetness that is harmonized by a sugary finish.
I didn’t mean to wait a year to tell you about these, but I figured that gingerbread was about as relevant the day after Christmas as heart-shaped boxes of candy are the day after Valentine’s. And so I blinked and a year passed and I would have completely forgotten about them had someone (hi, Sally!) not nudged me over email to post it. I’m glad she did. If you’re in a pinch and need a hostess gift or one last kid gift to take on the road with you, I can’t recommend a “kit” of these cookies with some shiny baubles for decorating enough. Or, you could just keep them for yourself, decorate them like snowflakes, serve them with a little eggnog and beckon the flurries to start already.
One year ago: How to Host Brunch (And Still Sleep In) and Spinach and Cheese Strata
Two years ago: Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake, Italian Seven Layer Cookies and Grasshopper Brownies
Three years ago: A Slice-and-Bake Cookie Palette and Winter Panzanella
Four years ago: Dutch Babies/German Pancakes
Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Barely adapted from Martha Stewart, who knows a thing or two about gingerbread
This gingerbread is spicy and dark, chewy but sturdy and only a little sweet. If you’re used to more tepid gingerbread men, it will surprise you. If you always found gingerbread a little boring, it will delight you.
Yield: 16 very large cookies (with a 7-inch snowflake-cutter)
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Various fine sanding sugars and sugar decorations
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about one hour or up to two days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes of your choice, such as snowflakes* or gingerbread men. Spread two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until the cookies firm up again, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
When cool, you can decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. When you pipe designs, sprinkle the icing with sanding sugar and let it sit for five minutes before tapping off the excess sugar. Then let the icing set completely at room temperature, which will take an hour or so, depending on how thick it is.
Store cookies between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container for up to a week.
* By the way, I don’t recommend my snowflake cookie cutter set as you will grow gray hairs trying to get the cookie cutter back from the dough without pulling off some icicles. Look for a set with less intricate details.
430 comments on spicy gingerbread cookies
My grandmother just told me that all she wants for Christmas are home-made gingerbread man. How can I deny her that? This recipe looks like just the ticket!
And +1 to Martha Stewart being the go-to for baking recipes. She’s a guru!
These are so pretty. I am not a fan of gingerbread so I tend to shy away. But I want to make these right now!
You saved me from baking not-so-Christmasy butter cookies for tomorrow. I’m making this tonight! Thanks Deb. Merry Christmas!!
First comment? Wow! I think it’s the first time I’ve done this.
This is not about gingerbread. I’ve made several of your cookies, Deb (Hello Dolly bars, Russian Tea Cakes, Brown Butter Shorties, Almond Biscotti) and they’ve all been fabulous. This IS my GO-TO blog for anything I want to put in my mouth. And that sounded wrong.
Thanks for a wonderful blog, Deb!
Crap I wasn’t first.
This has been my go to gingerbread recipe for years. I use it for Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, you name it. My nephew is a HUGE fan of it and requests them often.
The beauty of the recipe: the longer you keep them, the better they taste!
Hmm, I may have to try these….
I made the dough for these last night (Martha’s original version) and baked them today. I just made them into rounds so they’d fit into my gift boxes that I’m giving away at work (you remember how well nurses love cookies). I am flooding the tops then piping snow flakes and other winter themes on them. Your snow flakes are gorgeous, btw.
These look amazing!!
Do you think I could use it to make the “cookie” part of a whoopie pie? Regardless, I’ll be making some of these with my little boy, maybe on Christmas Day :) Thank you!
Deb: I love your recipes and cooking advice, but I am so effin sick of hearing about your offspring. It’s rad that you have a baby, but that’s not why we come to your website. Can you write a post w.o including something about your baby? How is the baby germane to this post?
WOW!!! Hopefully the Lord didn’t bless you with the precious gift of a bundle of joy!! Can’t believe your comment!! I’m sure others agree.
It’s her blog. Chill.
You’re so clever, I bet you can build a Chrome extension that automatically hides all mentions of babies.
They are so beautiful! I love the decorating kits you put together! Great idea!
Deb, do you have an opinion on whether this recipe would work for gingerbread house construction? I’ve heard there should be extra flour in the dough to make it stiff enough to build a house, but 6 cups already seems like quite a lot. Thanks!
okay, i’m about to blow your mind, not that I like to toot my own horn or anything. I use MS’s recipe every year for gingerbread. This year I used treacle instead of molasses (I live in Europe and molasses is hard to come by) and whoa. Total flavor enhancer. TOTAL. It makes the cookie so much richer. I didn’t even use the black pepper because I was out. Treacle is amazing. You have not tasted gingerbread cookies until you have used treacle. Give it a try next year and see what you think. I thought it would just be a simple substitution. Wrong. Adds a wonderful flavor. Merry Christmas. xo
Which treacle did you use? As in molasses, there are different treacles and different brands!!
I just made these and they are tasty, but not spicy at all and mine didn’t come out dark. Not sure what I did wrong, still good though!
These look absolutely lovely–I’m definitely going to try them for our Christmas Eve movie watching night!
Just a note: In the one year ago/two years ago/etc. section before the recipe, you’ve reversed the categories. Dutch babies were four years ago, not one, and how to host a brunch was one year ago, not four.
These are so perfect. There are few things better than gingerbread (or ginger snaps) with hot tea or hot chocolate… or even lemon yogurt.
I’ve made so so many batches of Martha’s gingerbread over the years! The recipe NEVER fails! I’ve iced the cookies, I’ve decorated the cookies with candy and bling. I LOVE THEM! Now I’m going to have to bake up a batch ASAP!
I’ve found MS recipes are very hit or miss and have even found great discrepancies between the book and online versions of the same item! Tsk tsk but I do agree I still go there for a lot of ideas and have yet to totally give up on her.
Your idea for gifting premade cookies to decorate is very cute and I have to say I love snowflakes with the cut out centers – is that a specific all in one cutter or did you use two? Any links for where to get what you used?
Speak for yourself, Darryl. I like reading Deb’s recipes in the context of her life, and her family is a prominent part of her life. Deb, I like your writing, recipes, AND Jacob, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one!
These are seriously the most gorgeous gingerbread cookies I’ve ever seen.
@Darryl. I’ll try to be polite here. Speak for yourself. Many of us love hearing about Deb’s son and will never tire of hearing about him. And would enjoy seeing pictures of him in each and every recipe post.
Deb, i was just knocking around your site looking for a frosted raisin bar cookie that i’m pretty sure i saw on the net, and must have seen on one of my favorite sites…of which this is one! So far i haven’t found those bar cookies but you just posted these gingerbread men and i’ll be more than happy to be satisfied with them instead. Thanks!
i love how beautifully dark these are. yum!
I think that first photo might be the best cookie photo in the world!
Looks like these were worth the year-long wait, Deb! I make soft ginger cookies of my own, but they are of the round and soft variety, circular and homey rather than delicate and lovely like yours! Your description makes me want to whip up a batch of these.
Love the snowflake cookie cutter shape. Just beautiful.
I only make Martha’s recipe & I feel exactly the same about her. My mother said that Martha had “real & grownup” gingerbread cookie recipe. I made them about 12 years ago & never looked back. Thanks for your efforts in keeping real gingerbread flavor alive!
Those look great! By the way, I just made my own colored sugar and posted about it recently. You could include that in cookie or cupcake decorating kits. http://tiny.cc/3l7sr
PS – I enjoy searching for Deb’s link with the latest Jacob picture.
To poster #11: what a shame you can’t enjoy Deb’s mom-ness as well as her skill as a cook. I don’t have kids and yet the first thing I do when looking at a post is search for the link to the photo of her drop dead gorgeous little boy. If you don’t want to hear about a blogger’s personal life (sorry but isn’t that what a blog is intended to provide?) then just scroll down to the recipe.
Darryl, I am sorry that you do not appreciate Deb’s conversations about her son. While I am sure you are correct and their are others who agree with you I believe their are far more who enjoy this peek into her life. I agree with Mel, if you dislike these mentions, scroll down to the recipe. Just know you will be missing the character of this site.
I have never made gingerbread-boy/girl cookies before. My poor children must feel deprived! I guess I’d just had too many icky ones that were tough and hard in my youth and didn’t think them worthy of the bother. I’ll make these now, since you’ve done all the leg work! Thanks, Deb!
ps..made the 7-layer cookies for the 2nd year in a row..they are so stinkin good! Still my favorites!
Deb, I just made gingerbread cookies last night! I checked your website since I couldnt find any recipes, i settled for one on allrecipes. I cant wait to try yours, I had a really hard time when I rolled out the recipe I made, I had to do it between two sheets of parchment paper because they were so sticky. Also I love seeing the baby pictures in every post, so PLEASE dont stop including them.
Grrrrrr………I will try to stay in the spirit of the season, but I am offended by #11’s comments. I love food, I love your recipes, but the first thing I do when I come on SK is look for Jacob…..once it wasn’t obvious and I swear I read through the post 10X to find him. I love the fact that we get to enjoy the totality of you when we visit. Please do not stop embedding these photos.
Kirsten — I think it would be perfect for gingerbread house construction.
Darryl — I think it’s important to keep in mind that this site is not really a reflection of the prejudices of individual readers. I don’t avoid meat because many readers are vegetarian (though I do delete “eweee, I wouldn’t eat that!” comments). I don’t skip sharing process photos because someone else once complained the site is too “photo heavy”. Four years ago I talked about being a newlywed too much, three years ago I grumbled about not liking my cubicle job too much, now you’re stuck hearing about the kid. Or not stuck. Really, nobody makes you read anything you don’t want to read.
And how has it been 7 years??
I’ve loved these cookies since you first intro’d them to me…. Making them right NOW! :)
Equipment question: you aren’t, by chance, familiar with the Wonder-Cup?
I have a similar tool, and I love it. I don’t use it often (once or twice a month?), and I dislike gadgets, but I make exception for this thing for measuring all sorts of syrups and thick dairy products like yogurt and sour cream. Just wondered if you were familiar and/or bothered by scraping sticky things from dry measuring cups. If you are and you’re not, then never mind. :-)
p.s. “eweee, I wouldn’t eat that!” comments are the height of lameness, in my opinion. It kills me that anyone would waste their time to express such thoughts in any way.
Beautiful! I just finished making, frosting and sugaring my gingerbread snowflakes. I’m a little more crazy with the colored sanding sugar, but yours are simple and beautiful. Love them!
lovely cookies !! and cute pictures of Jacob. Have a Merry Xmas.
Thanks Deb, for again posting a gorgeous, reliable, and intriguing recipe!! Can’t wait to make these :) Happy Holidays!!
Is there any chance this recipe can be made in the fashion of your food processor sugar cookies (then rolled warm and cooled before cutting). After making those (amazing), I can’t imagine having to work hard for a cookie!
I haven’t tried it but I think so, or don’t see why not.
Seeing this oh-so-lovely and ever-so-German gingerbread recipe reminds me of another favorite: Lebkuchen. I’ve made several batches in the past few weeks and have had a blast. Epicurious has Gourmet’s recipe, which is about as close to the real thing as you can get without letting the dough proof for WEEKS (which is part of the authentic Nürnberger lebkuchen/pfefferkuchen). Here’s the link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lebkuchen-107446
You may not like the snowflake cutters, but gosh, your cookies are so cute! :)
You read my mind – I was thinking of making gingerbread today but didn’t know where to start. I love your site. And Jacob!! Cutest.baby.ever.
YAY! SO excited for this post! And thanks for the shout out :) We’ll be making these with my in-laws this weekend – my daughter (4) will be thrilled (if she’s not blown away by the spiciness). Also, elegant way to address a critique –
I also felt the urge to make gingerbread for the first time this year, probably because of my own wee offspring (and, btw, keep mentioning yours; it *is* relevant to how you’re cooking, I think). I adapted a recipe from Gourmet, in which you cook the molasses, sugar and spices on the stove first; interesting and very easy. Like yours, they also came out really dark and freakishly spicy, but that’s because I doubled the spices.
I love love LOVE the sound of these cookies. I am a huge gingerbread fan … the spicier the better. And the dough looks gorgeous. Can’t wait to put your recipe to good use. Glass of egg nog … here I come!
Wow, your cookies look beautiful! I have avoided making cookies this year with the oven busily baking other goodies and friends sharing their sweet works. I may just have to cram these in though. I’m a big fan of gingerbread, but haven’t made cookies. Thank you for the inspiration!
These are seriously beautiful and drool-worthy cookies. Great job on these amazing cookies!
Oooh, these look just spicy good!
Okay, I have to know how you made the snowflakes in the windows. They are absolutely fantastic. Also, where did you get the snowflake cookie cutters? Lastly, although I have actually made some of your recipes, I read this blog for the pictures of Jacob. Your recipes are good also; I like them because they are easy and taste fantastic, but I google this site almost daily to see if there are any new pictures of the kid. Thanks for sharing.
Whoops, I just found the cookie cutters.
I love your blog just the way it is! I think you are much more judicious than I would be if I had a cutie like Jacob around. I cannot fully express how much I enjoy all the bebes shared on blogs–they brighten my grandchild-less days.
Oh–I love the recipes, too!
you inspire me :)
Hummm, love the look of these cookies. Personally, I am a fan of the soft kind of gingerbread, you know the kind that looks like a brownie but is actually gingerbread. So I may have to try these. I enjoy your site immensely, every aspect of it. This includes the recipes (of course), the photos and the tidbits about your life. It makes it seem like a really good friend is letting me in on just a small part of their life. Your dry sense of humor and the quality of writing is what distinguishes your site from those others. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the gingerbread recipe, but i’m posting more because i noticed that 4 years ago you blogged about the spinach and cheese strata. that strata has become my go-to for every brunch i have hosted in the last 2 years (since i discovered your site). it is so popular with my friends/family that it will be a main part of the brunch buffet at my wedding.
so thanks for being awesome and helping me impress my friends and family
I am so glad I delayed my gingerbread men making. I had searched your site earlier this week looking for a recipe and was so happy to click on your page today to see them!! Something about the pictures and your prose that gets me fully in the baking spirit! :)
Looks delicious! I wanted to point out that I think your “four years ago”, etc. recipes are reversed in order–not that it matters very much :) I only noticed it after just searching for the brunch post…
I just have to add my 2 cents….I first read through and look to where I can find the link to Jacobs picture (he really is the most perfect looking Angel) and then I read through again to look at the actual recipe. I always debate whether its the people that make the food good or is it just the food itself that makes a good experience…in your case, its the whole package that makes your blog sooooooo wonderful. Have a terrific Holiday Season.
I would love to receive these as a gift for Christmas! or, you know, a thursday…
Deb, your personalilty, sense of humour and unique advice is why I read this site- and the fact that you post the most delicious recipes and everyone thinks I am a great cook all because of you. I love reading about your family and seeing photos of the increasingly-cute Jacob. Personalisation is highly ‘germane’ to blogging- if I just wanted recipes I’d read a cookbook or go to a commercial site. It’s too bad that not everyone appreciates the amazing opportunity the net affords us to interact with people we would otherwise never had found- as Alix said your posts makes me feel like I am getting a little window into the life of a friend. As you pointed out yourself, no one is being forced to read the site or the entire post. Keep up the good work and have a lovely holiday and new Year.
It’s obviously that time of year…I just posted my gingerbread cookie making today, too. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for “Spice Roll-Out Cookies,” and they’re awfully good, though not as dark as these. Maybe next year I’ll make these and compare the two! Love the comment about substituting treacle…reminds me of a Laurie Colwin gingerbread (the cake kind) recipe that calls for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It puts gingerbread with molasses to shame.
I’m starting to get a little obsessed with gingerbread. My ‘go to’ recipe which has been used for Christmas tree decorations, party bags and for countless baking sessions with my children (you will be investing in little rolling pins soon – I guarantee it!) is gooey too but sweeter than this recipe – soft light brown sugar and golden syrup rather than the deep dark molasses. But I’m drawn to this darkness – a more adult gingerbread would definitely appreal to my tastebuds and your pic seems to show that it keeps its shape very well. I love the contrast of the white icing with the sombre biscuit. Our Dubai food bloggers group had a gingerbread decorating session at my house recently and we’ve decided to make it an annual thing too – so light and dark gingerbread for next year seems a good idea. Have a lovely Christmas – it’s so special when you’ve got a little one. Really enjoyed reading and cooking from your blog this year.
Man, too bad you didn’t post this a couple weeks ago, as I made another gingerbread cookie recipe from Martha’s site and it was kinda lame… way too bready, not very sweet and frankly not very enjoyable. I’ll have to try these eventually. Sounds like they’re a bit more like a gingersnap, which is in reality what I want it to taste like! Also the cookies are so pretty! Thanks for sharing it with us.
This recipe is arriving just in time! I’ve been wanting to make a serious standout gingerbread cookie, and this looks like it fits the bill. By the way Deb, I love hearing about your life. I come back for the great recipes, but weaving in who Deb is makes this blog real and enjoyable. Merry Christmas!
If you’re ever in the market for a milder gingerbread (but with a great consistency), check out Rose Levy Berenbaum’s recipe from her Christmas Cookies book–
it’s been my go-to for years (although the dark color in this one is gorgeous. Maybe a change in store for next year!)
Also, Martha’s gingerbread white-chocolate blondies are the greatest ever.
Gah, and of course I made gingerbread cookies yesterday. Those will probably be bland enough for the family but man I wish I’d made these instead as I love my gingerbread with some kick. Well there is no such thing as too many gingerbread cookies right? Right. Maybe a half recipe…
I have been reading Smitten Kitchen for years now. I have enjoyed the morph from newlywed…to cubicle drone…to freelance…to mom. My (now)nine year old daughter and I love reading your website together and cooking from it. She LOVES the Jacob search and thinks that he is almost as cute as her one year old baby brother.
We are anxiously awaiting the book!
My favorite gingerbread is a moravian gingerbread cookie. It’s the one I’ve had since I was a little girl helping my mom in the kitchen. It’s strongly spiced and crunchy but then melt in your mouth. When I think gingerbread they are what I’m thinking. One of those recipes. I hesitantly put them up on my blog this past week http://dabblingsandwhimsey.blogspot.com/2010/12/way-cookie-crumbles.html So many of my friends and family enjoy my posts I felt obligated even though this is one of those family recipes I am very protective over. Nothing scents a house like a good gingerbread cookie!
I would be sad to NOT have weekly updates (and pics) of Jacob. It’s part of what makes this site so amazing.
OMG! i literally just finished the dough for these an hour ago, to make cookies tomorrow (i got it from martha’s website a few days ago) and i look on your website and here it is! so exciting. i’m glad to hear my cookies will probably be delicious tomorrow.
i’m going to use star and bird cookie cutters, skip the royal icing, and use currants and raisins to decorate instead.
Sorry Deb but i believe Swedish gingerbreads are the best. They are called pepparkakor and yes you can get them in Ikea and most stores, also knows as gingerbread snaps. For me they are the only ones i will make and eat. But yours do look adorable! God Jul to you!
Another member of Team Jacob here!!
I’ve never had the urge to make gingerbread cookies – until this exact minute. Oy! Congrats on making a convert.
@Katy: thanks for the tip about the treacle!!
Wow! I really love the way you decorated your snowflakes! Great idea!
first of all – Darryl, perhaps we are so “effin” sick of people who have nothing better to do than complain. Last I checked, reading this (wonderful) blog was voluntary. Take your unhappy a$$ over to a child free site. I am quite positive none of us will miss you.
Second – do not change a single thing about this site deb. Your writing, the recipes AND the photos all add up to fantastic. And even if it didn’t – its your site, do what YOU want.
I totally don’t get the complaint about seeing photos of your incredibly adorable son. I have to admit that I look for those before going back to read the recipes. He couldn’t be cuter and your photography is great. PLEASE don’t stop posting photos of him! Besides, you very subtly mention him and readers have to click on the links to see the photos. You’re not forcing anyone to look at him. (Can’t imagine not wanting to, though…) What an unnecessary, ratty comment! BTW, your recipes are great and the snowflake cookies are gorgeous!
@ Darryl — Um, it’s DEB’s blog! If you don’t like reading about her precious Jacob, don’t.
@ Deb, we love you, love Jacob, love your recipes, photos and discourse — ALL of it!!!
I would love me some nice spicy gingerbread after reading this post! And thank you for answering my gingerbread house question earlier. ;) Side note: Hope my kid is as cute as Jacob!!
perfect gift to give,
wish u merry christmas
I wish I’d read this before making my gingerbread house today! It looks so much spicier, I hate how most recipes give just a teensy little gingery taste. Oh well.
I guess I may just have to try it again :P
Speaking as someone who doesn’t like children – I love, absolutely LOVE hearing about yours. Don’t stop. I came here for the food years ago, and I stayed because of the stories, and the love, and the laughter, and the various anecdotes.
Your kid is cute, and we’re lucky that you share both the recipes and your life with us.
We love gingerbread in this house – love it! And when our boy was about 1 – it was our party trick to recite various Boynton books where ever we were – people stopped asking us out (just kidding!). We still love them.
Wow – I’m not usually a fan of gingergerbread but your photos are making me rethink – really really gorgeous photography!
gingerbread, sorry – got carried away :).
Oh, the cuteness! Everything you do turns out so charming. Happy Holidays and thanks for a year of inspiring posts!
Great stuff! Love the colour too. A day too late this year, but never mind, will keep for next Dec. Oh how I’ve searched and experimented for a “knock-ya-socks-off” gingerbread recipe.
I have a 7 month old who has just learnt to crawl, your writing made me laugh. The royal icing was a challenge yesterday with a kazillion bub interuptions as he attempted to get into anything that was dirty, dangerous or delicate. Thanks Deb and Merry Christmas to you and your not so little one.
These cookies look amazing. I’d love to see what other recipes you’ve photographed that didn’t make it to the blog in time, these pictures are wonderful! This might be a silly question but does the butter need to be room temperature? I’d like to bring these to dinner tomorrow. Thanks, Deb!
Giovani — Good catch. It should be softened a bit. I’ll edit that in.
Re, substituting honey for molasses — I’ve often done this in cakes but I haven’t tried it here. It seems like it would work but I can’t green light it without hearing that someone was successful in doing so. So, if you try it with a whole or partial honey swap, please report back. I am sure there are others either unable to get molasses or a little freaked out by its intensity.
These look amazing!! Martha Stewart’s Baking cookbooks is one of my favorites. Happy Holidays.
Just yesterday I was searching online for a recipe for “spicy gingerbread cookies.” I’m living in the Netherlands, far from my cookbooks and suddenly realized I had to have real gingerbread cookies. I looked here first, and when I didn’t find anything I ended up finding the Martha recipe… and now you’ve posted this and I am absolutely positive I have to make them today. Of course there might be a few substitutions since some American ingredients are hard to come by. Thanks and happy holidays!
i love the dark color of these gingerbread cookies! i can’t wait to try them out! perhaps i’ll bake a batch to take to my grandparents’ house on christmas day? :)
Looks much more intense in flavour than the regular gingerbread man.
Wishing you your families Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and wishing that the new year brings lots of happiness, good health, prosperity and good eating:) All the
This sounds like just the ticket, Miss Deb! Emerging from Maryian Death Flu up here in Westchester, and thinking some baking is in order, since I (for once) got the gifts wrapped early.
As for Darryl, well, let’s not feed the trolls, okay?
I mean Martian Death Flu. Stupid typo!
So, as I couldn’t find molasses or golden syrup here in the Netherlands, I’m thinking I’ll do this with honey. I managed to royally mess up a previous gingerbread recipe, so I’m hoping this one will be kinder to me.
Any ideas on the honey?
I feel the same way about Martha. She is my go to when I need an idea for something crafty, or something that needs to be ‘perfect’. (Smitten Kitchen is also my go to when I need a fantastic recipe to show off to friends!)
Martha’s gingerbread recipe is one of my favourites, I tried it out last year too and kept it to make again this year!
Thanks for sharing!
I’m so happy to see a spicy gingerbread recipe! My gingerbread recipes have never been flavorful enough for me. Thanks for sharing these!
As a mom of three, I really appreciate that you include tidbits about your life as the mother of a busy toddler who still takes the time to cook good, fresh food rather than resorting to prepackaged “convenience” foods. Every time I am tempted to take the easy way, I look to your blog for inspiration. Our babies are only about a month apart in age, and it really helps me to know there is another mom who has not given up on her passion for cooking and who does not compromise regarding what she feeds her family. Thanks, Deb. You are the best! Happy holidays.
totally digging the dark gingerbread cookies like justeen said above. nice tip on not killing yourself over the dough caught in cookie cutter routine.
the 1 cup of unsuflured mollasses will make it potent. i might be obliged to cut that back some. i think it is the odor more than the flavor that gets me.
have a happy and safe holiday everbody
Just made these cookies, they came out beautifully, but one little problem…they taste very salty :(. I used coarse mediterranean sea salt…wondering if it’s different than “coarse salt”, which is called for in this recipe. Anyone know? Thanks.
I hope that Darryl’s comment was “tongue in cheek”. If not, it was totally uncalled for and exceedingly rude. It’s your blog, and you write about things you know and love. And we all love your recipes, sense of humour, and more than anything, that delightful little Jacob. Happy holidays and keep those pictures coming!
KDUOS to you deb on your reply to comment #11.
having reflected on the grand amount of time i spend @ sk… i would like to state that i truly look forward to an interesting & exciting sk 2011…i have learned so much from you this past, as i strive to be better educated in the art of baking…so thank you for a great year & a treasure trove of amazing recipes.
wishing you, alex & that CUTE jacob a wonderful & joyous holiday season!
Beautiful gingerbread Deb! My go to recipe is the thick and chewy gingerbread from Cook’s Illustrated. I posted about them recently. (http://saltandserenity.com/2010/12/10/day-four-gingerbread-snowflakes/ ) I will have to give Martha’s a try.
I made this recipe from Martha to make fantastic Gingerbread houses! (I didn’t need to add extra flour because you work so much in when you flour your surface) I just suggest chilling the dough properly so that your house shapes keep the right form, and then trimming the edges when they’re warm our of the over so the icing adheres better. I one-and-a-half-ed the recipe and got 4 gingerbread houses and enough leftover dough to make 98 gingerbread cookies!
As a side note, I MUST comment on #11 – My sister and I are avid readers of SK, and she emailed me late last night saying “GO LOOK AT SMITTEN! It’s UNBELIEVABLE what someone would say about our Deb!” and I did and she was right. Your personal touches make me see you as a distant friend I don’t get to see all the time, but care a lot about. Please don’t change anything about your site…it’s what makes me so gleeful when I pull my (now famous) peanut butter cookies out of the oven and proudly exclaim “They’re Deb’s recipe!”. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Those cookies look amazing. Maybe if you grease the cutters they won’t stick as much? I haven’t actually tried this myself, but it seems a shame that such lovely cutters would go to waste.
AHH! P.S. My sister is “Stace” – Comment #57! She didn’t tell me she posted, but I just KNOW it!
I woke up with gingerbread calling my name. You’ve pushed me into it.
Lady, you’re killing me. I just made a double-batch of the roasted chestnut cookies (which turned out wonderful, btw) and am no longer in baking capacity. These do look so very pretty though, and I love a spicy cookie too. *Sighs* Next week then, I suppose. Also, please do keep us posted about your little man. I must say I look forward to viewing his picture in every post as much as (or even slight more than) the recipe itself. Thanks for a wonderful site!
Sorry but you are a couple of days late, made and finally finished our gingerbread yesterday. I found my German teacher’s recipe hidden in something over the summer..still just as good as it was all those years ago. Will try this one as my son likes a chewier cookie as opposed to crunchy. And he’d go for the spicier version too. I like the darker look too, just like gingerbread cake, honey will make it lighter or less intense than the molasses. Love the snowflakes, cutters and always the pictures of Jacob and also your website.
I wouldn’t want Deb to change a thing about Smitten Kitchen, but I would also add that sometimes the focus on Jacob is frustrating–not so much what Deb has to share that’s useful and interesting as it is part of her life an the context in which she cooks–but the kazillion coos in the comment section. It’s already frustrating that many people comment without having made the recipe or with tips from their own experience, and sometimes scrolling through additional “he’s adorable” posts are irritating. I appreciate that Darryl spoke up for himself (could it have been done in a nicer way?) although he probably also spoke for a number of folks who would never share such a thought publicly. It’s just a comment, just feedback, and Deb is right to say that there will always be something that some one might comment negatively on and that will change as the site continues to grow and evolve.
I’m definitely able to still come and read the site–even the baby food satellite site–and use what I can and appreciate the community here. It’s a testimony to the quality & strength of the site that some of are “outside” the baby love but still show up every day. But yes, sometimes it feels as if the comments reflect what I also find frustrating in real life. At least it’s easier to ski[ over it on the web. : )
Those cookies sure look good! It would be fun to make with my kids.
Do you think I could roll these thin, and substitute them for the chocolate wafers in an icebox cake?
i have been looking for a real gingerbread cookie recipe. I had my first real gingerbread in a cake and I’ve been completely addicted ever since!
First of all I have to admit that I have been lurking around here for over a year and have decided to “unlurk” just to tell you how much I love your site in general. I am in full agreement with Wendy (#75)! It really bothers me that someone would post something like that (#11) when no one is forcing them to read here. I could spend hours looking at your blog trying to “plan” for dinner then I am out of time and have to make something out of my usual recipes, lol. Although I have tried several of your recipes and they always turn out great! I always look here first for a recipe for something, hoping you have some version or another of it.
These cookies look outstanding. I have never been a huge fan of gingerbread but these are intriguing. I might just have to try them!
@Daryl, if you don’t like it, leave. There are plenty of other food blogs out there, and we love Deb and Jacob just the way they are! No one is making you read this blog!
Wow, Darryl, Grinch much? I have tons of work friends who talk non-stop about their kids and it drives me nuts (this from a person having trouble getting pregnant). I don’t feel that way about this site. I love hearing about Jacob and Deb’s family life. That’s what food is about. Family, friends, kids, love. Why eat wonderful food if you don’t have that? Buy a Hungry Man and call it a day. Don’t come in here and attack Deb. Find a different blog to read.
hi. i love martha too! i have been making gingerbread cookies every christmas since my boys were little…and i always use martha’s recipe from her circa 1980 christmas book called “melissa’s gingerbread cookies”. i haven’t ever seen another recipe like it. you cook the sugar, molasses and spices on the stove first and then mix it together with butter and flour with the mixer once the bubbly hot ginger goo has cooled a little. truly the best. and the dough rolls out perfectly everytime. not sure why she isn’t publishing this recipe anymore? but you might want to try it for a variation sometime. btw, love the pictures of jacob!
About the snowflake cookie cutters–have you tried both keeping them in the freezer until you are ready to start cutting cookies? I also find dipping the cookie cutters in flour between each and every cookie helps with sticking. I don’t hesitate to wash the cutter, dry it, and re-dip into flour if something sticks. Lastly, with very sticky dough I roll out onto floured foil or parchment– I find that cutting foil or parchment seems to help the cookie cutter release from the dough a bit more. And sometimes I just cut out all the cookies and pick-up the excess dough instead–putting the parchment right on a cookie sheet and into the oven.
The problem with my snowflake cutter is that there’s not ENOUGH detail, and after they bake, the snowflakes look more like flowers. In fact, I made a batch of gingerbread “flowers” last weekend!
When I looged on last night after weeks of heavy distractions at my job, I browsed all the “missed posts” to see what’s up with Jacob and loved the standing up video! Now begins that time of serious transition from baby to boy as the upright and mobile position changes everything.
This morning, I came back to see what’s cooking in the Smitten Kitchen.
Thanks for reminding me about the slice & bake cookie rolls. I’d love to spend the day rolling, cutting and baking gingerbread but with shopping to be done, I think s&b are more attainable.
I have always used the Joy of Cooking recipe, or the Better Homes and Garden recipe – mild, sweet and addictive but now that I know what I’ve been MISSING I’m going to give these a try. I’m with you on the snowflake cutters – I tossed mine last year! Pain in the arse! Have a merry holiday and I agree with the comment left above, Smitten Kitchen is my “go-to” when I want the definitive answer. And PLEASE post a tutorial on your snowflakes – what fun that would be to show my grandson!!
Those cookies look really yummy!!! <3
i made this exact recipe from martha stewart, but my gingerbread does not look nearly as dark as your gingerbread. mine are very light brown. how did you get your gingerbread dough to get so dark?
As per usual, I need to ask you if you think substituting nutmeg for the cinnamon would work in this particular recipe. It’s too late for me to make this year, but I’d love to try it next year. If you could let me know, I’d be grateful!
(PS: Please keep including your family speak. Blogs exist so we can relate to one another. Even Martha Stewart has her daughter on her show from time to time. Thank you for being real.)
Lovely, lovely, lovely. Both the gingerbread cookies and your gift to friends. Happy Holidays!
Thanks again, Deb! Making these now.
To the people doubting the intensity of the spices or molasses, the more icing and decorations are added, the sweeter the cookie will taste once finished. Something to keep in mind. Good luck to everyone trying to crank these out before tomorrow!
As the mother of an adorable 6 month old boy I have to say Darryl you kind of suck !
Deb, we love the pics and stories about your beautiful Jacob, keep ’em coming, not to mention the fabulous recipes ! Happy Holidays
Those look so rich and delicious and beautiful!! What a sweet thing to give. :)
Dear Darryl: Please allow me to respectfully disagree with you. Personally, I adore seeing pictures of the world’s (well, after my son when he was a baby) cutest, huggable, precious baby with the most astonishing head of hair. So there!
I agree with another commenter — while some of Martha’s recipes are the best — I’ve had problems with others. Plus, I then see the exact (incorrect) recipe repeated in her magazine, a book, the web. (If I had any hair left I be pulling it out.) And some of her recipes are too strongly flavored for my tastes. Think Lime Melt-Aways. Deb, I know your acid loving hubby loved them but I gagged. Yes, this is easily remedied by cutting back. Like with this recipe. If I try them I’ll start with far less ginger.
Wishing everyone Peace, Love and Joy . . . and may all your Christmas and Chanukah dreams come true.
Oh my…I LOVE gingerbread that makes my eyes water a bit from the spice. These sound simply perfect, and I could admire the photos all day. Thanks for sharing your culinary exploits as well as your lovely little boy with this group of strangers. It’s very generous of you.
Hearing about/seeing Jacob is one of my favorite parts of Smitten Kitchen!
#11 Darryl – Please go away!! Your kind is not wanted here!!! My friends and I love hearing about Jacob….and Deb even has pictures of him hyper-linked so you don’t have to see them if don’t want to. *tongue childlishly sticking out out at Darryl*
the gingerbread men look wonderful and whimsical…i love to think about making them but know i never will. HOWEVER- I love the way you most appropriately told Daryl off….she has her nerve…All of us who love your website feel like you are our friend–and friends talk about whats going on in their lives….jacob is precious…and i agree w/ Terri–go away Daryl…Bah Humbug to you….
Using honey would be fine for the recipe in terms of substituting, howeve,r the molasses is the flavour and that will be missing!
This is the first time I’ve made gingerbread. I just came here to get the recipe for the green tea shortbread sandwiches when I saw this post. I happened to have everything I needed to make them and they looked so Christmas-y. They came out perfect. Thank you for remembering to share this.
I have the same star cookie cutter and my problem isn’t with getting all the details out of the cutter, its with getting the cookies off the counter top and still look decent. I suppose I’m not flouring my work surface enough.
When I made the shortbreads, I didn’t have any matcha so I used extra powdered sugar and just made plain cookies. I rolled out o my scraps from that and the gingerbread and rolled them up to make pretty little swirl cookies.
“One year ago,” “Four years ago,” etc., are all switched up!
Thank you for saving the world from boring, dry, and as you put it, tepid, gingerbread! I can’t wait to make these tonight; it’ll be the perfect Christmas Eve activity.
I love Michelle’s (#64) comment – I am fully Team Jacob as well!!
I also loved Michele (#16) suggestion of eating these with lemon yogurt… that sounds absolutely DIVINE.
This is the recipe I use and I love it!
Okay, these cookies are amazing. Mine turned out nowhere near as dark as yours, but I think it’s because I used a mild molasses and had to substitute a teensy bit of white sugar for the dark brown I was lacking (was not about to go to the store on Christmas Eve of all days). Thank you for the recipe!
WOW! these look amazing and very unique! i’ve bookmarked it for next year because i’ve already my gingerbread house and man :)
Dang. I was not going to make cookies this year… until I saw these. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration!
Made today, and they were amazing! Best gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had. Mine spread a bit more than yours did. The shapes remained, but not as crisp as yours. Any ideas why? I chilled the dough before and after shaping.
Have been using the MS recipe for some time… made 3 tiny little gingerbread houses this year (and the recipe works well for even big houses, even in humid alabama, and they stay upright for weeks, and even taste good after that). However, yours just look more indulgent and dark than mine. Every time you do it!
And I too, in case you wanted my two cents, love hearing about your baby. Because lets be frank, if we lived alone in this world, our cooking would be much different (for me, microwaved frozen brussel sprouts) than the act of love that we fuss and worry over for our families and friends.
Wow, this killed me a little because I did all my xmas baking yesterday and was looking all over for a gingerbread recipe, and apparently you’re my Martha because I go here first when I need recipes.
Huh…I literally just pulled these out of the oven, let them cool, took a bite and all I really thought was “…meh?” I followed the recipe to a T, and I was expecting a whallop–or at least a knock on the chin? But these just seem so bland! Can’t figure out what I might have done wrong?? I was short about 1/2 a teaspoon pepper, so perhaps that could account for it? In any case, the photos are beautiful, and I’m still gonna decorate the hell out of them and feed them to people tomorrow before dinner. Definitely edible, just not what I was expecting :n /
Ok ok these are actually growing on me. I think maybe I was just expecting something different. Also it’s really not fair for me to claim I followed the recipe and then be all like “oh yeah I was short so and so.” I guess I just had a hard time believing something so small would throw off such a big batch, with those 6 cups of flour and all. Anyways, now I feel like a grinch! Sorry!
they look awsome as i’ve never seen from somewhere else before!
I love smitten kitchen <3
“Because lets be frank, if we lived alone in this world, our cooking would be much different (for me, microwaved frozen brussel sprouts) than the act of love that we fuss and worry over for our families and friends.”
Many of us live alone and cook for an audience of one. And we still cook as an act of love and time and care to do so. We are valuable members of this community, too.
That is a LOT of spice! Thanks for the recipe :]
Perfect timing! I couldn’t decide which of many recipes to make and there yours was. If SK and MS say it’s so, then it must be true. Strangely, I have no fine ground black pepper, but I have a ton of white. The cookies turned out great and now I’ll turn the nieces and nephews loose for decorating. Thanks!
Deb, I don’t know about Martha, all I can say is that your blog is MY go-to for inspiration on pretty much any baking or cooking need. Thanks for making it great!
Hahaha I love how there’s a Team Jacob that’s started here! You sure have loyal fans! I’m one of them too, but I figure enough’s been said to Darryl! The cookies look gorgeous, I tried gingersnaps for the first time just recently, and had the same reaction! Went and asked mom whether they are supposed to be so spicy. Apparently, they were perfect, and I loved them after a few :)
Aaand I take it back, again. These somehow got worse overnight. Now they’re near rock hard and have a really unpleasant aftertaste. Who knows, maybe it’s the recipe, maybe I screwed up, but I definitely wont be risking it again. Ok, that’s my two cents, I’m done!
Wonderfull Recipe!. I posted the same recipe in my blog!. A great success…!!…. I couldnt´t find molasses so I use Honey. I hope this help you make in them if you don´t find any ingredient like me.
Merry Christmas for everyone!.
The spicier the better for me. I make gingerbread in the summer with mango.
I made them in the shape of Eiffel Towers for a not-xmas birthday dinner tonight. I added a dollop of dark rum with the molasses, ’cause booze is so lovely in many sweets. I loved the raw dough, but the big test will be after dinner tonight when the birthday boy munches on his gingerbread Paris monument!
I’ve never made gingerbread before, but this year I was seriously bitten by the gingerbread bug. I’ve been looking up recipes feverishly but wasn’t satisfied until now! These look amazing!
P.S. I also get to use my brand new kitchen mixer and sassy red mixing bowl set for the first time. Woohoo! (But I expect my boyfriend had ulterior motives for giving me new kitchen “toys” apart from just making me happy. :-) )
So classy of you, Deb. Goodness.
I decided last minute to make your gingerbread recipe for a party and they were a big hit. I can’t stop eating them myself! Yours are so much darker than mine, and I am wondering if you used an extra dark molasses or brown sugar?
I just wanted to let you know I discovered your site a couple months ago and absolutely love it. The pictures, stories and feedback are awesome. Ive tried about 4 of your recipes so far and they all turned out amazing, I always look foward to seeing your new posts, thank you so much!
Please tell me if there is some trick for keeping the edges of the cookies so sharp. My cookies always spread a bit and the edges get soft and lose some of their shape.
I made these, but definitely didn’t get the spicy overload. Apparently these become very-interesting-but-still-normal gingerbread if your parents’ spice rack is on the old side. I can’t wait to try making them at home with freshly ground spices and get the 4-alarm kick, since I love me some spicy food.
And in response to #11, I don’t have kids/don’t want kids/kids make me kind of nervous, but I absolutely LOVE reading about Jacob. He is, objectively, the cutest darn thing on earth, and the photos are to die for.
I made these cookies this weekend to great success, I’d like to give my two cents if it will help those who had some troubles with the dough. When making cut-out cookies, or any cookie that keeps it’s shape once baked, remember to chill the dough thoroughly before baking. The longer the better, an hour will do or half the time in the freezer. Then move them straight from refrigerator to oven and bake away. Parchment reduces spread, as does a non-greased baking sheet. Silicon may encourage spread if oils aren’t washed away properly. Hope that helps! (By the way, I’ve learned most of this stuff from Deb, so you can thank her once again! :)
I made gingerbread from a Martha Stewart Living magazine recipe years ago and I’ve been searching for it ever since. The gingerbread had a tablespoon or so of bacon grease in the recipe. It gave the gingerbread the most wonderful hint of smokiness that went perfectly with the ginger. If anyone still has that bacony gingerbread recipe, I’d sure love to have it. Also, find a spectacular lemon curd (like Trader Joe’s) and dip your gingerbread cookies! Yum!
<333 for Jacob!! Beautiful cookies Deb.
that baby continues to be one of the cutest kids I have ever seen! He is beautiful!
Awesome recipe! Amusing comments. #11 is an example of why we have security screening in airports, tamper proof bottles, and security passwords. One bad apple……FYI, my cookies were cute mules with long ears and frosted mane and tails. They brayed with flavor!!
Hey Deb! As a student new to baking, I’m wondering about your placement of the dry ingredients in your photo above. I usually heap all of mine in the bottom of the bowl as the recipe lists them. Do you arrange yours in neat side-by-side heaps for the photographic aspect of it (which I always love!) or for the purpose of better mixing?
Emily — The dry ingredients you see were the spices. I like to premeasure my ingredients; it keeps me sane because my cooking process gets broken up so much by a baby underfoot. Measuring ingredients one at a time, I know once they are all laid out the actual assembling of the dish is really quick.
Shari — Spread usually has more to do with the recipe, and occasionally, technique. This one is very sturdy.
Giovani — Excellent advice. FWIW, however, parchment paper is coated with silicone.
One year ago, Four years ago — All fixed now, thanks.
Great post, love the baby talk, there’s room for us all. As a potter, I find that if I cover a slab of clay with saran wrap, then cut my shapes out just pressing the cutter on the plastic-covered clay, it can’t stick and gives a nice rounded edge. Peel up the saran wrap and with a sharp knife do any needed further cutting to free the cookie. My motto is that the more we use our baking knowledge in clay, the better; sometimes it works the other way, and what goes for clay also helps for dough.
We made these! We had just seen the program on Martha Stewart’s kitchen (i think that it was a re-run) and then I found the recipe on your blog! (You rock Deb). We also made your mother’s cookies (wonderful) and a sugar cookie star tree that reminds me of why you have the amazing blog, and not I.
Happy New Year! Peace and blessings!
These look so tasty! I can’t wait to make these.
I can’t wait to try this recipe on my next day off.
Well, your flurries have arrived. Although they quickly moved up the ranks to blizzard. I thought staying in and baking would be nice, and this recipe would have been amazing. Unfortunately my in-laws don’t cook much, let alone bake anything from scratch. I went through your archives and found a cream cheese pound cake that I had all the ingredients for. I’ll make these when I get home (whenever the airports open back up) even days and days after Christmas.
I have to be honest, I’ve been disappointed in every Martha Stewart baking recipe I’ve tried.
On the other hand, Smitten Kitchen recipes are huge successes. (my friends still rave about your car bomb cupcakes!!)
I’ll have to give this recipe a try since it’s been Deb tested. ;)
These cookies were executed with flawless detail and tons of love (my brother still talks about them). If the dinner was flawless, it was because of those who ate it. As always, my dearest, the company of you and Alex makes the holiday bright. Cheers to all of your success. Wishing you nothing but continued success in the New Year. Thank you for another fantastic Christmas Eve. OXOX.
I never knew their was so much to know about ginger bread cookies! How enlightening ;) Have a good holiday! ~
Adorable! These cookies are being saved into my favorites, as gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite Christmas treats. :D
For the record, gingerbread cookies (and gingerbread in general) is always relevant–regardless of the time of year.
And these look beautiful.
We made ’em on Christmas! They were a big hit. Thx
Deb, checking your blog is the 1st thing I do everyday! Before I check the news, weather, online banking, my kids online grades, etc…always SM first. I love every aspect of your blog…please don’t change a thing! I’m not sure what’s eating @Darryl but he should go feed elsewhere!
Hmm there is no way I’m waiting until next Christmas to try these! And it’ll give me a chance to test out my “Alaska winter” themed cookie cutters. This year for Christmas we tried out your balsamic glazed cipollini and blue cheese and red potato torte and both were great alongside the roast duck. Thanks for all the great posts and cheers to another year of delicious recipes!
I think it would be quite funny if your next post was only pictures of Jacob… not the discreet links you normally add in, just a series of blatant photos of your adorable little boy.
Oh my, deb!
what a tasty morsel we have here! I love gingerbread but would propose one extra ingredient to the recipe, I always put a 2 good sized tablespoons of curry powder into my gingerbread
But surely it was worth the pain for such flawless snowflakes? I wonder where the failures went (perhaps the same place pie dough scraps go, i.e. my gullet).
As far as kids go, I’m usually not their biggest fan but yours is one of the cutest I’ve ever seen! I love the pictures!
I made these and used corn syrup instead of molasses (Europe …) – they were lovely, kept their shape perfectly. A lot paler than yours though. I might try next with honey, as I think it’d give more flavour than the corn syrup.
I made a recipe that very closely resembles this one this year! The only cookie recipe I ever made that calls for pepper. Everyone loved them.
To suit my ultra-laziness, I made them slice and bake style. Worked perfectly.
Beautiful and delicious – happy new year, Smitten Kitchen!
lovely, elegant and honest – I love your blog
What’s the yield of this recipe? (Beautiful cookies, BTW!)
Jody, a, re: yield: It will depend entirely on what size cookie cutter you use. Martha’s recipe calls for a 7-inch snowflake; it makes 16 massive cookies. Using a small cookie cutter, you could easily get 60 to 100.
For sticky ingredients, I coat my measuring cups with oil or butter so the stuff slides out better.
Jody, Martha says 16 cookies, but it all depends on how you cut the dough!
I made these on Christmas Day and they were devoured as they came out of the oven! I didn’t even have time to frost them.
It made way more than 16 cookies, btw. I think about 5 times that!
Thanks for the inspiration!
I used this recipe to make a gingerbread Space Needle and it worked great. It also works well to take a walnut-sized chunk of dough, roll it into a ball, flatten it into mixture of coarse sugar and sea salt, and bake it that way instead of rolling and cutting.
I think molasses are sort of key in making true gingerbread. But, a honey-spice version could be good!
[#107] Yes, some of us comment without having first made the recipe or have any tips to add. I believe Deb’s blog is mature enough to have different classes of readers who reacts in their own way, positively or negatively. Not all readers can immediately start working on a recipe but would like to thank Deb for inspiring them, this is also why SK is so successful.
I spend enough time scrolling through recipes with 200+ comments to look for recipe related feedbacks with no issues.
i am also a member of team jacob. i love looking for the links to the photos. my kids (23 and 17) tease me unmercifully about my addiction to this website. whenever i make something new and delicous, they always say, “smitten kitchen, smitten kitchen” in a really smart-assy way….but they always love everything i make with your recipes. keep ’em coming…the recipes and the photos!
So, regarding the honey experiment: I wouldn’t suggest it. The batch I made with honey was just overpoweringly .. honey flavored. There wasn’t the classic gingerbread taste.
So I did some more digging and decided to go with some basic sugar syrup (suikerstroop in Dutch) found at the supermarket. I’m sure the treacle/golden syrup ideas would be similar to this.
Delicious gingerbread resulted. :)
Love you blog just the way it is – pictures, Jacob, and of course recipes! I was married and had my kids the same time that you have (Not to mention that I’m not in love with my cubicle either:) so can I relate!
I’m Finnish and I make gingerbread cookies every Christmas. We don’t really have molasses though and I’ve always made gingerbread cookies with dark sugar syrup. I’m interested in the variations of this traditional recipe in different countries. To be honest your cookies look nothing like mine. Yours are much darker and thicker! :) I am tempted to try this recipe.
@193: I agree wholeheartedly–we are all different and that is what makes this an interesting community. I do find that it’s important to read all of the comments, rather than simply scrolling past them, in order to gain the benefits of the diverse contributions of the readers. I usually wait a few days as the later entries tend to have more responses from folks who have had a chance to try out the recipe. And if I plan to add my two cents, it is only respectful to read what others have to say if I expect folks to also read what I have to say. So while sometimes frustrating– as the blog has become more popular it has also become more time consuming; just a few years ago, most posts had about 50 comments not the routine 200+ since the baby and the cookbook announcement–it is also rewarding. Deb has set a a wonderful tone here, with clear expectations for how we interact (see the comment guidelines for more). The conversation about how to highlight specific comments on the recipes has come up in the past, and Deb has discussed it several times. It’s a wonderful blog and the commenting community is generous with our thoughts and cooking advice.
I expect at some point, as Jacob grows older, that issues of privacy (his and Debs) will shift how he is discussed and how many pictures there are of him, whether in links or directly in the posts. Life is always changing. This blog will also grow and change.
I don’t see our different approaches as an “issue” but as simply sharing our experiences of the blog–which may or may not be useful for Deb to hear.
this is the recipe I always use, but I omit the pepper as it is too spicy for the small kids. it is a great recipe and thanks to you and Martha.
When I make these, I use unsulphured blackstrap molasses, which is distinctly dark and has a strong, sharp, almost bitter/sweet burnt caramel flavor that is a good backdrop for the spiciness of the cookie. I suspect that this also what Deb used (note the telltale yellow bottle) to get deep dark brown gingerbread cookies.
Blackstrap molasses can be found in both sulphured/unsulphured versions, so check the label, and in some areas is easier found in health food stores than the supermarket. Other types of molasses are not as dark and yield a lighter brown cookie. It’s my understanding from British Caribbean friends that (black) treacle is the same as dark molasses, but not as strong as blackstrap molasses. We also use unsulphured Barbados molasses for cooking ginger breads, but that s not made from sugar but from sorghum.
As usual I love all the photographs, especially the one of the spices. Your ideas for presenting food are always so original and visually interesting!
tried the gingerbread cookies last night and they are wonderful. your site is my go-to anytime I want to try a new recipe.
Thank you for such a wonderful site. I was afraid that once you became a mom that you wouldn’t be able to continue the blog but was happily mistaken. Like alot of the others, I look for the Jacob pictures before I read through the recipe.
Happy New Year!
Oh, I am awfully sorry that you don’t recommend the snowflake cookie cutters that you used here. The cookies turned out beautifully fabulous! So, so pretty. Best snowflake-shaped cookies I’ve seen. And I am intrigued by this spicy gingerbread…I have a feeling I’d have the same reaction as you. Taken aback but then pleased.
Your boy is adorable – and I think that the balance of your recipes and your personal life is perfect just the way it is. I LOVE your writing, whatever it is you happen to be writing about. Very much looking forward to the cookbook!
Deb, was I right in guessing that you used Plantation blackstrap molasses?
This is very much like my family recipe, but we put the butter, sugar, and molasses in a suace pan, stir and bring to boil, then cool and add egg, then fold this (liquid) concoction to the dry ingredients. Then cool in fridge. Very little mixing and very tender cookies. I love making houses with the kids!
Oh, dear. I tried to make these, and failed miserably. I used light brown instead of dark brown (mistake number one, but all I had on hand), melted the butter completely instead of creaming it and added the wet ingredients to the dry instead of the other way around. The result: dry, sandy cookies. Lesson learned? Follow the recipe!
These were delicious. They definitely tasted better the next day!
I saw this recipe online the other day, and wondered “a whole teaspoon of black pepper…seriously?”. After making them, would you say the spices were right on? I was considering trying them, and maybe cutting the black pepper in half.
This recipe turned out great – I was nearly out of flour, so quartered the recipe, and the proportions worked perfectly. I especially like how these cookies held their shape in the oven; the edges only softened (a little) so the cut shape was preserved.
i haven’t read through all the comments so i’m not sure if someone has already mentioned this, but i just made kim boyce’s gingersnaps from good to the grain – AMAZING!! have you tried them? so far i’ve only made her choc chip cookies (about 5 times in as many weeks) and now the gingersnaps, i am in love with both recipes…such a great cookbook!!
I love your cookie cutters! Next year :) I also tried a very spicy gingerbread recipe a few years ago (from Sunset magazine and they added chocolate!!) and it was so good. I made gingerbread cookies this year and they were fine, but next year I will be testing out this recipe and I think the neighbors will enjoy the extraness of it :) Thank you!
Long time listener – first time caller (ummm, well, you know what I mean…..). I just wanted to to say that I LOVE the recipes and I ADORE the baby (now toddler) pix and everything else. Many thanks for your generosity of spirit in sharing your thoughts and everything else with us. Happy new year!
I’m on my third comment now, hope I’m adding substance instead of being a nuance. I made this on Christmas Eve and while the result tasted yum, the color’s not as dark as yours. To be honest I was first attracted to the color of your cookies to be driven to try this recipe (I eat with my eyes first).
I’ve skimmed through your replies and don’t see that you’ve mentioned what molasses you used though a few asked. I used Brer Rabbit. Did you use backstrap molasses (is this always darker)?
Looks delicious! We’ll have to try these!
I think it was Plantation molasses that I used (from Googling the bottle image), but it was a year ago and I have different stuff in the cabinet now! Mine were very dark. So is my kitchen, which makes things look a little shadier but they were definitely dark.
Tiffani — I found it spicy. The recipients thought it was perfect, and were still going on about it this Christmas. Since I’m not a frequent maker or eater of gingerbread, I’m kind of neutral on whether it was right but if it was too spicy for you, definitely dial things back so it meets your tastes next time.
I’ve been using the same recipe from MS for several years too and had issues with unsulphured molasses as called for in the recipe. Not sure if it was a weird Australian interpretation of molasses, but the first time I tried making it with molasses it was downright awful! Ever since, I’ve substituted the brown sugar with molasses sugar and the molasses with golden syrup (very much like the treacle another reader had used, but not quite as dark – I will definitely be giving treacle a go in the next batch) and I’ve not had any issues. Hope this helps anyone else who can’t find molasses. I also use white pepper rather than black – personal preference, but I much prefer the taste of it over black pepper when I’m baking.
P.S. I’m not at at all clucky, but I too look for the Jacob photo links before I read through the recipe properly – that hair is to die for <3
Are you regretting the ‘bring on the flurries’ comment yet?
Nicole — Nope. I love love love love the snow! Also, I don’t have to shovel it. Mostly, NYC takes care of that for us.
my goal for next year is to make a gingerbread house….i’m sure these are lovely for that, and for just plain eating :).
These look great – really dark and spicy. Did you try them with adding in some orange zest? I find it adds a really nice background flavour to gingerbread.
Although you did not like your cookie cutters, your cookies turned out looking REALLY delicious. It makes me want to try them even if I am not a big gingerbread fan. Thank you for sharing!
I didn’t think it needed to be said, but apparently I was wrong. I love seeing updates of your son. I remember staring at how cute the first photo of him was, and calling my girlfriend over so she too could gush over him. So keep them coming, I plan to enjoy little glimpses into his childhood for years to come.
Now for what I’m here for: I love gingerbread cookies, but I have never made them before. I bake all the time, cakes, cookies, cake pops, cupcakes; you name it I bake it. However, gingerbread men and houses are my little sisters thing. They make them every year and I have never felt the need to horn in on their territory.
This year though my girlfriend has asked me to make some gingerbread cookie dough so we can make some gingerbread cats to decorate with sanding sugars from William-Sonoma and royal icing. I couldn’t possibly say no to her and now this recipe is in the top running. I want a DARK gingerbread but I don’t want it to be too spicy as my girlfriend doesn’t like things that are too hot.
So, if by chance you or someone else knows how I can get a dark cookie without it being too spicy; I would be greatly appreciative.
i just made this and the dough is in the fridge now. my friend made some for me and i was addicted. not as spicy as i was expecting. i would prefer slightly spicier ones.
also, i don’t even like children and i enjoy hearing about Jacob. i read through your posts even if its a food i know i will never eat just bc i like hearing about your life and you’re so entertaining.
What a lovely post, and you are MY patron saint.
I so enjoy getting these teeny tine glimpses into your personal life; if I didn’t, then I would just skim ’em. That’s what speed reading is for folks.
Happy New Year!
Wow, Darryl. You’re not being very nice. It’s her blog, she can do as she pleases- you don’t like it, don’t read it.
Deb- made these, delish, but mine much more anemic looking than yours. Did you use blackstrap molasses maybe?
Made these New Year’s Eve. They were delicious! Printed up the recipe and put in the tried-and-true recipe binder. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading your blog!
I am coming up on 50 and grew up during the Martha Stewart craze. I worked as a graphic designer for Hallmark who encouraged us to research her for any trend that we could possibly use in creating cards. I love that you have mentioned her as a mentor because she was the “perfect” go to. But, may I please congratulate you on being oh so much cooler than Martha? I love your honesty, your simplicity, amazing photography, and your realness, which includes gripes. She never got messy in her kitchen. Or, at least we didn’t see it. I remember just a few bits of Alexis. Never much. In addition, my husband and I have received Saveur magazine since day one. Just cancelled it. Too wordy. Less simple format. Not easy. YOU are my new go to girl. Keep up the great work for all of us including young hippies like me. Keeping it real. By the way, it’s full of snow here in Memphis, and I came here for marshmallows. Diverted by gingerbread. My teenagers are still sleeping and I hope to have them whipped up by 4 PM. You, too, will be here one day.
ooooh so cute! I don’t care that the holidays have past, I love … no really love gingerbread and I’m looking forward to surprising my friends with these! Thank you!
I made these cookies from Martha Stewart this past December for a Weihnachten Celebration holiday party at my home. They were a big success!! Everyone ate them up even people who claimed they didn’t like gingerbread. They had a little sampling which ended up being a cookie, two or three. I think the reason is the spicy kick. People love it! I used a set of 5 different sized snowflake cookie cutters I purchased at a Michael’s store. I found baking these cookies time consuming especially since it was my first time so allow ample time.
Yours look delish too! Sharing is caring!
this is an exciting recipe, i can’t wait to try it. one question: can the dough be frozen once it’s divided into three? this seems like a recipe that yields far too many cookies for just my fiance and i!
I had a dream – a literal dream – about making these in the shape of footballs with laces piped on them a la Ace Ventura for a Super Bowl Party I’m attending on Sunday. I guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow!
Just rolled out half of my dough. I’m making ginger bread babies for a baby shower. (Getting those arms and legs out is a total pain) Question, can you reroll the scraps or will the dough be overworked?
You can re-roll the scraps. The more flour that gets kneaded in, the tougher the cookies get but it’s not always noticeable.
I just made these last night, and they’re a hit with the adults. My 7-year-old nephew had a blast helping me with the cookie cutters, but doesn’t really like the spice kick.
I’m in Europe, and haven’t seen any molasses in the shops here, so substituted it with honey – and they’re delicious!
I rolled out one batch thinner than you suggest (just a couple of mm, I guess about 1/8 of the inch), with adjusted baking time, and my sister likes those better. She says that because of the spices she prefers the thinner ones, which have more of a snap. I also re-rolled the scraps, and can’t taste a difference.
I made these and they are awesome tasting…..I’ve never made gingerbread before so my question is…are these suppose to be soft or hard?
Mine turned out hard (crispy) but I love them. I love the flavor and think that this is my favorite recipe by far.
I just made these cookies, and I love them! Gingerbread is my all time favorite cookie! I can’t decide if I want to frost them or not, because they are so great plain! Thanks for the recipes, Deb — I’m a huge fan.
Hello! My mom and I love ginger-things, but being a student, I was wondering if these were freezable. Could I stick them in a roll in the freezer, or would that not work? Thanks!
Definitely. I am sure they’d freeze just fine.
It’s kind of funny that your reaction to these cookies was that they were too spicy, whereas I felt that they didn’t have enough kick. So I regularly use twice as much spice (there can never be enough cinnamon in my book).
And yes – they freeze beautifully. I’ve frozen them after the cookies have been baked, and they’re actually super-tasty if eaten while still frozen. And you could probably roll out and cut the cookies and then freeze them on cookie sheets before you bake them, then put the frozen cookies in baggies until you need them, baking off a few as deisred.
Where did you get your cookie cutters?
There’s a link to the snowflake cookie cutters in the recipe, but I mention that I’m not crazy about them because they’re hard to use.
I find that if you roll out the dough between parchment sheets and then rechill flat, it’s much easier to cut out the shapes and separate them from the cookie cutter. I did intricate snowflakes today with no issue!
These look so good! Do you have any other recipes for traditional christmas cookies (sugar, crunch, colors, etc)?
I tried this today. My 4 year old, made some at school and was so thrilled we had to repeat it at home. My wife thought they were sublime, and my 4 year could not stop thinking about them. The main change I made was using fresh ginger (5-6 tablespoons) grated and then blended into the molasses. Fresh ginger, like fresh nutmeg, really kicks it up a notch for me. I do like Regina’s comment about cooking the spices into the molasses. I will try that next. I also used some homemade Tahitian vanilla in the frosting which worked really well, albeit subtle.
I was about to ask whether I can use fresh ginger and if so… how?
Now I know and thanks for helping me spare the author the effort of replying
I can’t figure out what I did wrong. Had them in the oven for 12 minutes and it smelled all burned. When I took them out they looked great but some were black on the bottom. Any ideas?
Entirely possible that your oven runs hot — turn it down next time, watch the cookies early.
Not sure how often you read these, but I was planning on making these today and noticed you use butter instead of shortening in this recipe. Can I swap the butter out? If yes, do you have an idea on how much shortening to use? My nephew is allergic to dairy so holiday cookies have been a challenge this year! Any suggestions are appreciated!
You can use the same amount of shortening. (1 stick butter = 1/2 cup). Hope that helps!
I just made a batch of these. It’s the first time I’ve made such cookies, and they’ve turned out Yumm!! I love the tingling sensation the spices leave on the tongue long after a cookie’s been eaten :) Thank you so very much for this recipe. (Your blog is my cooking Bible; the recipes never disappoint me, and I can never go wrong.)
I didnt have dark brown sugar, so used white sugar instead (reduced the quantity too and love that the cookies aren’t very sweet!); hence, I didnt get the wonderful dark brown color you’ve got. Nonetheless, these cookies are awesome!
I made these this weekend, and they came out so wonderfully. I wish mine had been as dark in color as these, but I can absolutely deal with that since I still ended up with an amazing gingerbread. Also, having the whole house smell like gingerbread was a very special byproduct of baking these.
Something I found very helpful, since I was using a snowflake cutter as well (oh boy I was nervous!), was chilling chilling chilling. After chilling and rolling out the dough into the 1/4 inch thick disc, I chilled it again for another hour. Then I cut all the shapes out. Any time I needed to cut shapes out I chilled, and it made transferring those newly cut cookies to the baking sheet so easy! (So did flour on the cookie cutter) And of course I chilled again before sticking them in the oven…it took SO much patience but was worth the wait!
I also baked mine for 10 minutes since I like my gingerbread nice and soft, but I still made some 12 minute cookies for my friends who like them crispier :)
I made an incredibly delicious batch of these babies for our annual “Decembergiving” party and came home with no leftovers. That batch, however, was just a test-run for the, arguably, more important joy of altering for and sharing this recipe with a pair of autistic children with whom I work. The boys are on a gluten-free diet, so it took a little creativity to alter the recipe to suit their dietary needs, but they had a wonderful time mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough, and cutting out beautiful and tasty cookies to share with each other.
Thank you so much for always being a reliable source for incredible recipes — I know that when I find a good recipe from Smitten Kitchen, it will be a smash hit, even with the pickiest of audiences.
Over the years our family recipe we have for Gingerbread has managed to disappear. My aunt happily provided me with “Great Grandma’s Gingerbread” recipe. I was excited to try it, because I loved when we used to make it as a kid, but sadly it was a very mild light coloured gingerbread (clearly not what I remembered). Thanks for posting this recipe and all the comments about it’s success. I will most certainly be baking these darker spicier versions!! It may become the new “family recipe.” Thanks again!
I don’t like gingerbread, but I had to make these because the pictures look so appetizing! Now, maybe it was because I didn’t use the same molasses as is pictured, but the cookies I made did not have the spicy kick that the description led me to expect. But it doesn’t matter because the smell of gingerbread baking is incredible (I had never experienced it before) and even though I allegedly don’t like gingerbread, I think these cookies are great. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
barryl you sound like a bitter b****
My cookies didn’t turn out as dark as these. I accidentally added 1 tsp of baking powder instead of 1/2 tsp, and then had to try and scoop some of it out. Would that be what made them lighter? I followed everything else exactly the same.
Hi Ashely — I think mine are extra dark because I’ve been using a really dark, thick molasses brand the last couple years. Not exactly because I chose it, it’s just what this store down the street was carrying.
Hey deb, any thoughts on how long this dough would last refrigerated? Also, I made a batch or two already and I’m pretty sure it made my dad’s year, thanks for posting!
I’d say up to three days unbaked in the fridge, longer (up to a month?) in the freezer, well-wrapped.
awesome, thank you!
Deb & Nat – I’m eating these now. The dough has been in my freezer since early December. Still yum. Although I’m kicking myself because I was a bit overzealous in rolling them out, and they got too thin. I love these cookies with a little heft. Oh, well. I’ll probably just make another double batch and do the cook-half-freeze-half thing.
BTW – my little guy insisted that we make hearts for Valentine’s Day. Perfect, no? But the next batch he wants to be buffalo. Which we have, for some strange reason….
I really want to make these but I’d like the cookies to be pretty chewy. Do you have any tips on how to enhance the chewiness?
I’m debating making these because they look so delicious, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions as I’d like to make them without cinnamon? I have a friend who is highly allergic to cinnamon and misses things like gingerbread and I figured I could try and make these for her. Should I double one of the other spices? Substitute for something else?
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this is a fantastic recipe! made the cookies – into classic men, snowflakes, cats, shooting stars and music notes. huge hit at work + with the husband! thanks so much for another awesome recipe.
Just finished making the dough for these, and it is chilling in my fridge. I’m planning on making simple rounds, and then topping them with pumpkin marshmallows. I think they’ll be a hit at my work potluck.
Baked a few, even though I don’t need to bake them until tomorrow, LOVE them. First time I’ve ever had homemade gingerbread cookies.
Just made these and they came out really bland! I was excited for the extra kick after reading the comments and was shocked when I tried one. I substituted the flour–2 cups whole wheat and 4 cups all purpose. Would this have created the problem?
(#267) I’m not sure since mine was pretty bland, after having used 6 cups of all purpose flour. Maybe decrease the amount of flour to 5 cups, so the flavor is less diluted? It was hard rolling out the dough without it breaking apart constantly as well, so I’m suspecting that there’s too much flour being added in. Anyone else having similar issues?
I found the dough really hard to roll out, it was very crumbly and my first batch were really hard once cooked. Am trying again with a shorter cooking time with another ball of dough chilled for a couple of days. We shall see.
Just going through your cookies looking for something new and interesting and VOILA I see Martha’s Gingerbread that I am ALSO famous for! I have been making dozens and dozens of them for more than 15 years for Christmas gifts and they never fail to receive raves and requests. The dough holds up to a month in the fridge easily. Baked cookies freeze beautifully. They can be skewered and made into ornaments (put in pan in fridge prior to baking). The darkness definitely depends on the molasses — blackstrap molasses yields the darkest cookie as well as the most bite! P.S. I drug off 7 new cookies to add to “my” gingers! Thanks!
I gotta wonder – why COARSE salt? I usually regret using coarse salt when baking cookies.
Thank you thank you thank you..these are the best Christmas cookies!
I found this meek, mild, and bordering on flavorless. My spices are not to blame: the DOUGH was so richly spiced my eyes teared up and I had to cough! But when baked, all that flavor vanished.
Very disappointed. Next time I’ll try tripling the spices.
So many times I wake up and I think “I’m totally baking today” but then I’m stuck thinking “Now, what the hell should I bake?” Then I come here and I browse through for a while and it always hits me, Duh! This is exactly the recipe I didn’t know I was dreaming about. Every. Single. Time I use on of your recipes the lucky folks I bake for rant and rave at how talented of a baker I am hahah but really, it’s all you. Your book is my Christmas gift to myself. I mean, at this point I can’t say no.
These are the best gingerbread cookies I have ever made or eaten! I was a little hesitant to add the pepper and a whole tsp at that but I did and they turned out amazing, just like all the amazing recipes I have made from this blog. I found 12 min to be too long though. I cooked mine for 9 minutes.
I just took a batch of these out of the oven and it is KILLING me having to wait for them to cool. Oh… the pain! They smell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
UPDATE: Yep! They taste A-M-A-Z-I-N-G too! I made a minor change to save time – did not refrigerate cookies before baking. Popped them right in the oven but only baked for 8 minutes. Turned out perfect in my opinion. Thanks for the great recipe.
I wish I followed my instincts and used regular salt rather than coarse salt, what a disaster!! :(
After cooking a test cookie, I used regular salt, doubled the spices and added another cup of brown sugar. It was not too spicy and not too sweet. It was unbelievable…2 & 4 year old kids could not get their hands off of them. They LOVED them so much I must’ve seen them eaten at least 8 of them each. We ended up hiding them on top of the frig. The adults were also very impressed.
I made these for christmas this year and still have a tupperware stashed in my freezer. I cannot get enough of gingerbread, especially this in-your-face-flavourful recipe. I added a touch of orange zest to mine and it was a nice undertone.
This recipe is so delicious and amazing! It definitely has a kick to it and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. It’s my go to recipe now and I absolutely love it. I like using all my animal cookie cutters with this recipe as well. The great thing about this recipe is that the longer you keep the cookies/batter, the better the taste! <3 So delicious!
Hi I’ve never commented before, but I thought I would for these biccies!
I made these in bulk for Christmas 2012 and they were so so good. Perfect mix of sweet and spice. I made the usual stars and little gingerbread men, in addition to gingerbread ‘pockets’ filled with rum cooked plum conserve (povidla).
I’m going to make the mixture for Christmas 2013 soonish so it can develop before I bake the biccies.
Hi Deb, I love gingersnaps and these looks amazing. Could you use them in a pie crust? My recipe had you pulse the cookies in a food processor. I just wondered if these are crisp enough for that purpose. Store bought are so hard and dry. Any suggestion would be helpful. Keep but the great work :)
I just did a test run of these cookie but cut the ingredients by half for a smaller batch. Delicious with a healthy kick of spice! :) Thanks, Deb!
Just wondered if this recipe would be good if I used Gluten Free flours? Has anyone tried it?
I have not, it looks like commenter #251 did, but she didn’t leave any tips. I suspect a good gluten-free flour mix intended for baking could work here.
I made a half recipe of these cookies – they turned out great. I’d definitely make these as a cookie that are rolled out and then cut with a cookie cutter because they don’t spread like a sugar or chocolate chip cookie.
Made these and dipped them in a citrus (lemon and orange) glaze. So tasty.
Deb, these gave me a real craving for gingerbread biscuits. Unfortunately I found this recipe sadly lacking in ginger. They’re nice spice biscuits but definitely NOT gingerbread. Afterwards I made a batch using Delia Smith’s recipe which were much more gingerbready. Not saying they’re better, just, more like gingerbread. Thanks for the inspiration though and my kids had great fun decorating them.
Please note in the recipe that this calls for blackstrap molasses. I’ve made these for the past two years using both blackstrap and regular unfiltered molasses, and the blackstrap makes all the difference! It results in the darker color, richer flavor, and does a better job balancing the spice. They are good with regular molasses, but they are great with blackstrap. Thanks for the fantastic recipes!
How many cookies does this recipe make? :)
Oh man, it’s really going to vary by size. Martha suggests that it will make 16 if a 7-inch (!) snowflake cutter is used. I think that’s insanely large. I’d say easily 2 to 3 dozen with a 3-inch cutter, possibly more. I remember it making a lot.
Just finished mixing the dough for these cookies. I’ve never made them before. Did everything as instructed but just couldn’t get the dough to stick together! Definitely didn’t over mix. Ended up having to add a couple tablespoons of water to each third of the dough so it would form and hold a shape. Did I just ruin them? Feeling frustrated.., they’re chilling now so I guess we’ll see how it goes when I try to roll them out.
Ah, I just used your lovely-looking recipe to tweak my grandmother’s gingersnaps recipe. The gingersnaps have shortening instead of (most of the) butter and less flour, but I added more molasses and spices and cut the sugar based on yours, made a double batch (it almost didn’t fit in my big mixing bowl and was too deep for my hand-held electric mixer!) and worked some extra flour into 2/3 or so of what was left when I got tired of making them for today, in hopes that I can roll those portions out later for shaped cookies. (The gingersnaps are just rolled into balls and then rolled in cinnamon sugar.)
Looks delicious! Must try tonight!
I have been craving gingerbread all week!
So I turned to my go-to – Smitten Kitchen.
I never have good luck with Martha Stewart’s recipes for baked goods. But if you say it worked, then I have faith!
I used this recipe again forgetting I had the same problem last year–the dough was really dry and crumbly. I added some drops of milk so it would form into balls. Is this an unusual problem?
I know this is an old recipe, but I’m coming back to this comment because for the first time this year I had the same problem. I’ve made this recipe for several years and loved it every time, but apparently switching from giving my arm muscles a workout with the hand mixer to using the Kitchenaid caused me to overmix the dough. After refrigerating overnight, I let the dough come to room temperature over about 2 hours and wrestled a crater into the top of each dough ball, each one being 1/3 of the overall recipe. Then, I poured 2 tbsp melted butter over each ball and kneaded the dough well. It came right back together and I couldn’t taste the difference. In my experience this dough can take a lot of kneading and rolling out without suffering. I’m going to try my next batch in the Kitchenaid again with a little more butter, and see how that goes.
Any chance we could get weights for this recipe? I have no faith in my cup measurements these days. Many thanks!!
I made these!!!! I made half, and then a 1/4 of that I froze!!! It makes a MILLION COOKIES!!! Mine were not small, but they were very thin, I like them thin. One thing though: either my spice senses are numb or I don’t find them as spicy. I used the same quantities. I know you say it’s barely adapted from the original, but you have also said elsewhere you don’t like things as spicy, so I am wondering if you have reduced the spice amounts…. or maybe I should just add more :) I made a panforte the other day, that had chili powder in it! It turned out amazing! So, since I am so spice numb apparently, I might just add chili powder! Ho ho ho! I do love the cookies though. They are just right in every respect and I can see how you can make a ginger bread house of it! Thank you, Deb!
First off…My wife and I love your book and blog, both of which we credit for making us fall in love with cooking for the first time.
Regarding this recipe, OUR cookies seem to get really puffy (almost rising like a cake) and the edges lose definition. Additionally ours look much lighter in color than yours. We used C&H dark brown sugar which is lighter in color than our previous darker organic brand. Wondering if you have advice? Or anyone else out there who might be able to lend a hand.
Thanks in advance!
Mine do get puffy, however, it’s possible (if there’s no way you accidentally used cake flour with leavening or mis-measured your leavining, adding too much) that it’s a chemical thing with the lighter brown sugar… lighter color, less molasses, molasses add some acidity which I believe negates some of the baking soda, blah blah. Ooh, one more thing — you’re not at a higher altitude, are you? Higher up = less leavener.
this recipe is amazing. I made no less than three times – a house, cookies for the kids to decorate, and ring in the New Year treats! talk about longevity.
This dough tastes amazing, but I found that it was completely unworkable. When attempting to mix it, the dough was so stiff it nearly destroyed my Kitchenaid, which has handled some pretty tough stuff. After refrigerating it, it refused to roll out. It was dry, crumbly, and completely lacked any cohesion or flexibility. I followed the instructions here to the letter, my wife and I are both experienced in the kitchen, and I double-checked all my measurements. Can’t explain it.
Drew — Was it any better as it warmed up? The dough is indeed very firm from the fridge, but with gentle rolling, I always get it spread thinly without crumbling (and where there are tears, as with pie dough, I just fold the dough sides on top and roll the “seam” back together).
I loved this recipe! Also, your pictures are so beautiful, it was the main reason I had to try this recipe. I’ve made it for Christmas in France and the whole family loved it. I’ve made a little twist on the ingredients though, as I didn’t have molasses, I’ve put 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 maple syrup. Next time I will try to find molasses in the store to taste the original. I’ve also translated your recipe to portuguese and put on my blog, my friends in Brazil are loving it. Cheers!
I’ve been searching for a fabulous gingerbread recipe and I think I’ve found it, thank you for for sharing! I will be making these today and hoping my gluten free version is as gorgeous and delicious as yours, my fingers are crossed and I will share my results later ;)
The recipe calls for coarse salt. Would Kosher be an appropriate salt to use here? I’m only familiar with Kosher and table salt for levels of fineness (unless grinding it myself but I don’t have a salt mill) but I’m also aware that I’m rather ignorant about all the fancy/gourmet foods available. (Most of my life I’ve only had access to Walmart type foods. Not exactly gourmet, are they? lol)
Amanda — Definitely kosher salt is just fine. I use the term coarse salt when it could be any kind — kosher or a coarse sea salt.
I made a batch of these cookies, I think I did something wrong because they are not dark and spicy :/ I followed the recipe exactly, any tips on what happened? I would appreciate it.
Karen — Tell me more. Did you use all the spices? Are your spices pretty fresh? (I ask this in a non-judgemental way. You wouldn’t want to know how old my ground ginger is.) Any ingredient swaps worth mentioning?
I tried these for the first time, followed the directions and used ingredients as listed (and mixed in my kitchenaid) and the dough was abysmal. Many many shades lighter than what is pictured, never came together, like a bowl of sand. I ended up pouring in a ton of molasses and an extra egg and it kind of worked, but the cookies are pale, completely dry, and nearly tasteless. I am 100% sure I added the right amount of flour as in the recipe, but it seemed like way too much as I was adding it. I’m a pretty experienced baker and my cookies usually turn out great. Any idea where I might have gone wrong (and why your dough is so much darker than mine)? Thanks!
hi – is the link to a lemon royal icing intentional? seemed like an odd flavor to complement the gingerbread…
Deb, I used all the ingredients and spices in the recipe. Spices are about 1 month to 2 years old depending on which one you are talking about. They aren’t super fancy just plain McCormick ones. Now that I look at my molasses it doesn’t say “unsulfered”…. would that be it? Or are fancy spices needed?
No, no fancy spices needed and I think you’d be fine even if the molasses aren’t unsulphured. I’m just surprised because I found these so intense. No reason not to double the spices next time. It’s totally possible that I’m just a wimp, eh, more than possible.
Hi Deb, suppose I like cookies on the crispy side, should I simply roll the dough thinner?
Kimchi — Sure, or bake them a minute or so longer, look for browned edges.
Made these tonight and though they didn’t turn out very dark or spicy, they were DELICIOUS!
Just made these and tried one of the “negative space” cookies, not bad at all! Thanks as always~
We found the dough to be really spicy but the baked cookies were just right. They are on the dry side. The kids had a blast decorating them. It was a really easy dough to work with. I would make them again.
i have had great, fantastic luck with your savory recipes, but I hate to report that I had the exact experience as Drew: dry and crumbly but tasty dough. Impossible to roll out of the fridge. I tried to warm up the dough by leaving on the counter, but still it was unrollable. I pressed the dough into logs and cut it with a knife, giving up on the cookie cutter plan. I cut to 1/4 inch, and 12 minutes was way to long, they were very hard. I hope to try your gingerbread snack cake because I am having such a hankering for some spicy cake!
I discovered the problem with the pale, sandy dough–it is critical to use blackstrap molasses. Next batch was perfect. I also added extra spices (both times).
I love you, and I love this recipe. I am gearing up to make a bunch and would like to freeze the dough to make things a bit easier on myself. I know you said above that they should freeze fine if well wrapped, but I had some other questions. Would you then take the dough out and leave it out for a while? Would you put it in the fridge the night before?
I don’t have much experience with freezing things and it seems as though you are very successful at it. Have you ever thought about some sort of post about what does and does not freeze well?
Thanks a whole bunch! :)
The cookies came out perfectly. Very tasty. I rolled mine thinner and they are a crisp and cracker-like but still good. Thank you for the recipe!
I hope you haven’t thrown away those cookie cutters. Try covering the dough with plastic wrap after you’ve rolled it out and then cutting out your cookies. The cutter will cut through the dough but not the plastic, giving you as many pretty details as you like without all the heartache and hassle. Also, it makes a beautifully rounded edge. Works just as nicely on cinnamon or clay ornaments as it does on cookie dough, if you’re feeling like getting your holiday craft on.
This is the best gingerbread recipe ever. Thanks, so much, for sharing.
By far the best gingerbread cookie recipe I have ever made. I used my gluten free flour and they came out perfect!! My daughter loved it so much she said it tops all holiday cookie recipes I have made for years. We are on our second batch to give as gifts! Thank you :)
About to try this for the first time. Can you put your yield response at the top with the recipe so we don’t have to dig through the comments?
Thanks, your site rocks! :)
Joe — Great idea — done.
I love this recipe. I’ve been trying different gingerbread cookie recipes for a while in search of one that’s spicy enough for me to enjoy eating but has a dough that’s not too fussy for my kids to successfully wield cookie cutters on, and with this I’ve finally found it! I followed the recipe exactly as written, including the molasses variety, and the dough came out great– it cracked slightly at the edges as we rolled it out, but no big deal. Thanks for another great recipe.
Made these for the second time this year. I and my brother have both declared them our favorite Christmas cookie, ever. Blackstrap molasses is the way to go. Rolling out cookies always seems to give me trouble, but this time I was heavy-handed with the powdered sugar (I use it instead of flour) and I didn’t have much of a struggle. Wonderfully spiced and chewy, and they pair perfectly with vanilla royal icing!
I have a question – i want to use this recipe for a cookie decorating party for kids’ friends. I was wondering if it was possible to make the dough now and freeze it and then bake it the day before the party. What do you think? Any help would be appreciated.
Yes. I’ve made this recipe many times since Deb published it, and usually keep half or all of the dough in the fridge or freezer for weeks. One year, I even waffled it in little tablespoon-sized hunks, one per night to have with my tea.
Great idea! I’ve got a chunk of dough in the fridge too, I might try this :-) it’s a very good recipe – our cookies that we baked have kept well and a week later still taste fantastic.
What changes need to be made to have the option of making these as ornaments? I’ve never worked with gingerbread before to be familar with it!
Nice recipe. Nice cookies. But where’s the spice? I’m disappointed – I totally expected something more. I’ll keep the recipe but probably add at least 1.5 tsp more ginger and cinnamon and more cloves. I thought this would surprise my tastebuds.
Tasty, yes. Turned out perfectly, yes! Just not enough spice punch.
Me and my family loved those cookies, especially the pepperyness, but for some reason they came out very, very hard, as in, unless accompanied by a cup of tea they were very hard to eat (better for decorating the tree, my family had some laughs over this). Any tips? I may have baked them too long I suppose or it may have been my molasses.
Also, I have very similar cookie cutter set, and while they take a lot of work to transfer between sheets they are so pretty :)
I had the same problem. They are tasty but very hard and I even lowered the cooking time to 8 mins. Any chance you’ve determined the reason for our failure? I don’t think it’s my oven. On the same day I made a successful batch of the Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies.
Keep them in a closed container with a piece of apple wrapped in netting.
The apple suggestion is great. I’ve also used a piece of bread. (And I usually put a bit of.plastic wrap instead of netting between the cookies and the apple (or bread).)
Not too spicy at all! Was a little worried that they would be overpowering based on Deb’s comments throughout the post, but these turned out great. A little icing helps balance the flavor. The spice is more of a lingering finish – I would make these again. Husband liked them and he doesn’t normally like gingerbread.
I was so disappointed with this recipe. I was expecting a flavorful, highly spiced cookie but it was bland, hard and not at all delicious. The quantities must be off in the recipe. I experimented with baking times to try to keep them softer, but it was an epic flop. I’m an experienced baker and love your recipes so was surprised with the results. The next day I made the Cinnamon Gooey Bars which were delicious.
I made it as written and only shortened the baking time by 2 minutes and they are fantastic.
This is a very sturdy gingerbread and I used it to make a house easily. My dough was too dry and I had to spray with water, probably because I used half whole wheat flour. For anyone saying it isn’t spicy enough, maybe they aren’t using fresh spices. You could always grate in some fresh ginger! I’ve made this two years in a row and I love the dark color and low sweetness.
Ugh Deb, is it bad if for three Christmas celebrations (Dutch tradition to have two Christmas days, with divorced parents + partners family you get three awesome nights) I’m just going to make your recipes? Going for layer cakes with these gingerbread cookies in the shape of houses (from the front) stuck on the sides (a la Martha Stewarts Gingerbread Town Square Cake). Her recipe sounds good, but with yours I know they will actually be a success.
Going for the Chocolate Layer Cake with Marshmallow Frosting, Gingerbread Layer Cake and the Carrot Cake (in layers). Will be lovely!
Crunchy problem solved! Anyone having issues with their cookies being too hard, I may have your solution. My first attempt turned out hard and crunchy – I was so disappointed. I had measured the ingredients carefully and even lowered the cooking time significantly (to 8 minutes) but still too crunchy. The only difference I could think of was my cookie cutter. Undaunted, I did some digging and found the solution.
The oven temp and cooking time suggested in this recipe are perfect for larger cookies like the 7 inch snowflakes described. My snowflakes were about 2 inches. I found that Martha Stewart (from whom this recipe is adapted) recommends baking smaller cookies at 375 for about 6 minutes. My snowflakes took 6-7 minutes at 375 and turned out PERFECTLY. Tender and lovely! Amazing what 25 degrees and 2 minutes can do. For reference, the light bulb went on for me while reading this recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/339791/gingerbread-cookie-trees
Thanks for the recipe, Deb! I’ll be happily making these every year.
Thanks, that helped so much :)
thank you! i was going to give up on this recipe before i found your suggestion.
I like this recipe. I’ve made something similar of my own design, but with double the ginger (fresh grated or finely minced candied) reduced espresso and a hint of cayenne. I love the darkest color and the pepper zing.
Lesson learned, unless you have cutters the size of dinner plate, DO NOT make double batch. I don;t have 30 cookies, or 60 cookies, I have probably like 160 cookies. And they are not small.
No idea what I’ll do with all of them yet, but they are still amazing.
As Amy R mentioned above, for normal sized cookies 6-7 minutes at 375F is the best way to go to not end with Dwarf Bread ;)
Made these yesterday for a little taste of Christmas spirit– I live in Israel, where it is in relatively short supply compared to my native NYC– and have been thoroughly enjoying watching a number of Israelis try their first gingerbread ever! Overall they came out wonderfully, though I found them to be far from eye-watering– I will add at least one more tsp of ginger next time, plus more cinnamon and black pepper. Maybe I just exist on a different scale, having grown up in a family where we plant scotch bonnets in the backyard in summertime.
p.s. Word of advice– 10 minutes is the perfect baking time if you like your gingerbread somewhat chewy and not traditionally crunchy, as I do.
Hi Deb, I made this recipe (and it was delicious), but my cookies were not nearly as dark brown as the ones in the photos. Any idea why this might be?
Molasses tends to vary between brands in how dark it is, but it could also be that my kitchen back then was very dark.
I love gingerbread and was excited to try these. This is a solid gingerbread. You can easily see building a house out of it. It comes together easily and is easy to work with. At first I was a little disappointed by the flavor; they seemed mild as compared to the excellent description preceding the recipe. However they really grew on me, and several people that tried them on our cookie platters commented on how much they enjoyed them. I will probably try them again, but I will also be keeping my eyes out for other gingerbread recipes.
FYI I made big cookies but not as big as those in the recipe, so I did turn down the oven temperature to 325 and kept an eye on them to determine doneness. The texture was great, firm but tender.
These are so perfect! We made small cookies so we baked them at 325 for 8 minutes. I also just made a half recipe and it was plenty cookies for an after school treat. Thanks!
I ended up with a large pile of gingerbread crumbles rather than dough. Did you mean 3 cups of flour – not 6 cups? Is there any way to save this disaster and turn it into gingerbread cookies.
Possibly you overmixed? Or undermixed? Or the dough wasn’t cold enough when you rolled it out? Any one of those things messes me up, too. But I made this recipe last year and accidentally rolled them out thinner than recommended and they baked up just fine. I’m using this recipe again this year for gingerbread houses.
Me too! crumbles! added more egg to save it. Otherwise use it as tart crust.
How about using this with my cookie stamps? I love them and the ease of making a design without dealing with frosting.
oh somebody please try this and report back. I would love to do this too. I suspect the stickiness of the dough and how much it rises could be an issue in the stamp coming out right. Oh heck, I just have to try it.
tried it, it worked great, they’re beautiful…but I think this recipe really is built for icing on top. They’re kind of dry and not sweet enough without it. But I don’t want to cover up the beautiful stamps! Not a good enough baker to mess with the sugar or molasses quantities.
Is the “coarse salt” Maldon salt flakes, or is it a finer grind? (How coarse are we talking. I don’t want to over salt by accident. :>)
I made these last year. They’re good. Deb, may we please have metric measurements? I’ve always found gingerbread cookies to be so tricky to get right.
Can anyone tell me if I really do have to chill each batch of cookies before baking them? It’s going to add a lot of time that I don’t have. Inquiring minds want to know. Can I get away without doing it?
I just baked a batch of these without giving the dough a second chill. But putting it in the fridge for at LEAST an hour (I’d recommend overnight, though) before rolling it out is imperative. If you want, you could keep the individual discs in the fridge as you roll each one out- that way it’s still slightly chilled when you put your sheets in the oven.
Thanks! I made the dough last night, so it’s definitely chilled. Got the 1st batch in the oven–can’t wait to try them.
I do keep the dough in the fridge as I’m working, so each batch is pretty chilled.
I made this dough and it was way too dry to roll out. It looked like shortbread consistency so I took half the batch and added one egg to make it malleable and it was fine. Also 6 cups of flour barely fit in my kitchen aid (artisan model) and motor was struggling. I advise cutting recipe to half.
This is my favourite gingerbread! I made half a batch exactly as written, with the exception of the baking time. Not too sweet, not too spicy, and very, very flavourful. I would not change a thing about it. But, for optimal texture: be careful not to make them too thin, nor to overbake. Six to seven minutes for smallish cookies seems about right.
Has anyone made these using a Gluten Free flour blend? I have so many friends who avoid gluten than I seldom use all-purpose flour anymore. Thanks!
A couple people mention doing so, but don’t offer much in the way of tips:
I’ve made this recipe for several years now and love it. Wouldn’t say it’s spicy, which I’d prefer, but not too spicy is also good because the rest of my family likes it.
I see “electric mixer” mentioned here a few times. But my hand held electric mixer never, EVER is suitable for this recipe, aside from mixing the butter and sugar till fluffy – and then most of the mixture gets stuck in the two beaters. Aside from that, my mixer CANNOT handle the batter – it struggles to work! Am I to understand everyone here has a stand-alone mixer? I think I saw one other person say they hand mix this. I use a large metal spoon or wooden spoon, and find myself stabbing at it to get it mixed. (While playing heavy metal music in the background.)
Yes. My KitchenAid struggles but just does it.
I used my hand mixer to make a half batch and it was definitely crumbly towards the end but I got it together okay. I added the flour mixture slowly in three batches, letting the flour get incorporated before adding more. Then I used a spatula to mash it all together a bit (Christmas music here but I laughed thinking about your heavy metal anyway) and kneaded the dough by hand into three portions.
I also don’t like cutting out cookies after about the fifth cutout so for anyone wondering, these work well as slice and bake. I formed 1.5” square bricks, rolled in turbinado sugar, and sliced them 1/4” thick, baked for 6 min at 375 and they were soft and tender even the next day. The half batch makes about 60 small cookies that way.
I have been making this recipe for many years and have always gotten rave reviews. The key to the spiciness is the royal icing, which in my opinion should be on the tart side (juice of a large lemon) and there should be more of it than pictured here – not coating the cookie but enough so you get some in every bite. It balances everything out. Love this recipe, and in my experience the dough is forgiving – ok if rolled out a bit too thin, too thick, or left in the oven a minute too long due to my own toddler’s disappearing act.
Hey Deb, I love your snowflake cookie cutters but they do look like a pain to unstick. There’s a trick to using intricate cookie cutters. First off, dust them with flour between cuts to help them not stick so much. But the real trick is to make a pusher in the shape of the cookie cutter to pop the cookie dough back out without deforming it. You can make a pusher out of plastic clay or using salt dough. Add a knob for a handhold and if using salt dough, you can spray it with a light coat of polyurethane to make it last for years.
Going to attempt to build a gingerbread D20 for our next D&D session right before Christmas.
These look perfect for Christmas. Just ordered my snowflake cookie cutters especially for these!
I, too, am making a Martha-version…only my family and friends like ’em hot, so I add cayenne pepper! I also go for easy production and roll the dough in small balls, then in sugar then flatten with the bottom of a glass.
This is the best gingerbread cookie recipe. I have made it for years. Thank you Martha Stewart and SK. Since I have made this recipe over a hundred times, I thought I could add my comments.
I think MS says to add the spices to the butter/sugar mixture, not mix it in with the flour mixture. This is what I do, because sometime I only add 5 to 5 1/2 cups of flour.
I find 6 cups of unsifted flour can be too much and makes it very difficult to thoroughly incorporate at the end of the mixing process.
I sift the the flour with the baking powder and soda, then use between 5-6 cups, adding 1/2 cup at a time ( I am fortunate to have a KitchenAid stand mixer, it helps) I stop adding flour if the batter is not absorbing it well toward the end.
For my gluten-free friends, I substitute Bob’s Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking flour. The cookies bakes up a bit sturdier tha with regular flour, but still tastes good.
I leave out the pepper, but now I have started to add 2 tsp of allspice to this already spicy batter. And my family just loves it!
I wrap the dough in wax paper …I am adverse to plastic wrap, and the dough seems to stick to it more…then I put these portions into large Ziploc bags to chill.
Best gingerbread recipe! Last year I froze half a batch of dough to make up when I next felt like gingerbread. Well now a year later I defrosted and it rolled out like a dream and still tasted amazing. I love how deep and flavorsome this gingerbread is. Thanks for crafting the perfect recipe for all of us to enjoy!
I am ABSOLUTELY making this. My only questions is how do you think it will work in an absolutely ADORABLE silicone gingerbread man mold. It’s this one https://www.amazon.com/Wilton-2105-0553-Silicone-Mold-24-Gingerbread/dp/B004CYEM8Q/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1544804765&sr=8-4&keywords=silicone+gingerbread+man+molds
Is that for cakes? I might not use it for cookies.
These are really good and also spicy but in a good way. My go-to gingerbread cookies.
THese are excellent, not crazy spicy with a lovely afterburner of taste. I lowered the temp to 325, baked for 8-10 min and was careful to keep them a little thicker. Thanks, Deb!
I’m a huge fan of your site and recipes; however I found this gingerbread recipe to be pretty disappointing. Very dry and too salty. Oh well! :)
I love everything Christmas and am going to try these, they look beautiful!
can these be used with cookie stamps? will they keep their shape well enough to show off designs?
I am not entirely sure — they do hold their shapes well but I so rarely use stamps, I’m not positive.
I did some cookie stamps with this recipe once and they worked great. I dipped them in a thinned out Royal icing and the effect was perfect for some Star Wars shapes! There was no way I could have ever done piping on them and we could see every detail when done this way.
These are beautiful and make me want to try a spicier, darker gingerbread than I usually make. My question is whether you think it would work to add chocolate or cocoa to this dough. I like the flavor combination of chocolate and spice, so I’m really wondering about method — cocoa v. melted or grated chocolate, how much of either, and any additional modifications to the recipe. I’d love to hear any suggestions. Thanks in advance!
A year too late, but maybe in time for the new season.. :)
To add cocoa powder to any recipe, you just take (almost) the same amount of flour out. Here I’d do 5 or 5 1/2 cups of flour + 1 or 1/2 cups of cocoa respectively and add more flour if needed in the end. If the cocoa is natural instead of Dutch, heap that tsp of baking soda.
For these cookies I think cocoa nibs would be great too.
As for chocolate, I’d go for very finely chopped or grated and just add 1/2 – 1 cup at the end right before the flour gets absorbed.
Also you could decorate them with melted chocolate instead of royal icing.
Can you tell I looooove chocolate? :D
I can’t figure out where the PRINT button is when I’m trying to print your recipes. Help! Karen Berry, Portland, OR
These are the best. Deep and spicy, not wan and vaguely cinnamon-y like most gingerbread cookies you get. I find the dough incredibly forgiving and it keeps for ages (ahem, months) in the fridge—which is useful because this recipe makes a ton of it.
Highly recommended—an annual favorite!
I added a punch of nutmeg. And about a teaspoon of cardamom. And, as I am in the UK, i used black treacle. And cut them in about 3 mm thick. scalloped circles. And then dipped the bottoms in very dark Callabaut (sp?) chocolate with a bit of good quality cocoa butter. Awesome.
Based on comments that these weren’t so spicy, and knowing that I always like more heat than Deb does, I added about 1/4 cup finely chopped stem ginger. With a 3 inchish star cutter this made about 5 dozen cookies. Royal icing put them over the top!
I reduced the cloves and added some cardamon. I used half the butter. They are still among the tastiest gingerbread I’ve had.
Updating with weights, which I’ve seen asked for in the comments (and which I’ve definitely been looking for, when I made these recently). For a half-recipe (which still made a whole load of cookies), I used:
400 grams flour
114 grams butter
100 grams b.sugar
I think the molasses came up to about 55 grams (maybe closer to 60), but I forgot to write that down. I didn’t bother to measure the spices etc., didn’t feel there’s a need to.
Hope that helps others! These are wonderful cookies, and well worth making.
Thanks, these measurements were perfect and saved me dishwashing :) my half cup of molasses was 170 g.
These are the best gingerbread cookies I’ve ever made. Thank you so much for sharing, Deb! Can’t wait to make them again when it’s just a little colder here.
These are excellent gingerbread cookies – I wouldn’t say they’re particularly spicy but I appreciate that they aren’t boring or bland. I baked them for 10 minutes since I like soft cookies and they are perfect!
I make this recipe every year and love it. This year I’d like to share cookies with a friend who has an egg allergy. Do you think flax eggs will work out okay? Any other suggestions for a more appropriate substitution?
Stella Parks has a gingerbread recipe that doesn’t have egg. You might look at that.
These were wonderful! The whole family loved them and couldn’t stop munching on them. I’m making them again, this time with the hopes of sharing with neighbors. Not sure why others are disappointed; my spices weren’t the freshest but still these were super spiced (my ginger is the one ingredient that was fresh and high quality). I used a smaller cutter, rolled very thin (closer to 1/8″), upped the oven to 375 and cooked about 8 minutes. Crispy with a soft center. Loved!!!
It would be lovely to get the metric/weight measurements for this recipe! :D
Cookie texture is great, but I wish I’d followed my instincts and increased the spices by at last half, if not double. Gingerbread should be spicy, these are a bit bland.
Made a half batch of this recipe using a just shy of 3 inch snowflake cookie cutter, baked at 375 for 6 1/2 minutes, got 3 dozen. Just ate one (quality control) and it was tasty and spicy but not as much as I expected (even added 1/4 tsp. of cardamom)- will make again but may up the spices.
I made the dough Saturday and baked the cookies Sunday. Per my previous comment again no issue with the dough crumbling and made as written with the exception of the addition of a teaspoon of cardamom and a healthy handful of small dice crystallized ginger in the dough and 3 or 4 pieces pressed into the cookies prior to baking. Amped up the spice factor to my liking and will definitely make again (and again, and again)!!!
I’ve made these so often; They are an absolute family favorite. 101 cookbooks just posted a gingerbread recipe that is almost identical, but a 4 cup version. The only significant difference is that she uses three eggs for the 4 cups of flour. I have often made a half batch, but the knowledge about the eggs makes it much more likely that I will make a 2/3 batch and just use a full two eggs.
After several failed attempts at roll-out gingerbread cookies, I’ve found a winner! Woo hoo! Mine are light brown as some others have mentioned. Is this due to the type of molasses used? I used the “Grandma’s” brand I had on hand. Maybe a robust molasses would lead to darker cookies?
I used grandmas molasses and 6 cups of flour (scooped and leveled). Mine didn’t look this dark and I think maybe 5 cups would’ve been enough. Nothing some icing can’t save and I will definitely try again with less flour! I love the flavor of molasses.
We made these this year for one of our holiday cookies, and they are AMAZING. The only change we made was to bake at 375 for 6 minutes, and they were perfect. (We used smaller cookie cutters.) Kids and adults all love them, definitely not too spicy. Just right. This recipe makes a ton of smaller cookies though so be prepared! We froze 2/3 of the dough for a later day. Thank you for a great recipe!
Love this recipe! It was a bit of a workout, but definitely worth it. My little hand mixer was quickly overwhelmed, so I ended up mixing the flour in by hand, sort of kneading it in. The dough was still quite crumbly, so I sprinkled some water (less than 1/8 cup) and that seemed to help bring it together. We chilled the dough overnight, and it was… quite an endeavor to roll out the dough. We may or may not have cracked the handle of our rolling pin. One trick I employed was (carefully) slicing the dough in half horizontally so you have less to roll out. (I probably broke all kinds of baking rules in the making of these cookies.) Baked for 6 minutes at 375 as others have suggested. The result was chewy, moist, deliciously spicy gingerbread! I like that the cookies are not too sweet. Without the icing, these seem like an acceptable breakfast food. This makes a lot of cookies, so I could see cutting the recipe in half if you don’t want a significant quantity and want to save some time. Definitely my go-to gingerbread recipe!
Would anyone know if I can freeze the dough or leave it in the fridge for a week before rolling it out?
Hey Eva all gingerbread dough can be wrapped and stored in fridge for up to a week. This will also cure the flavour into your dough and intensify your flavours
I realize this is a super old post but is there a hashtag on here or a category of cookies that keep well for gifts? A cookie that lasts a few weeks. My grandmother’s sugar cookie lasts weeks so probably any dry cookie would.
I read many of the comments about this recipe and must admit I was a teeny bit worried (comments about hard biscuits / dry dough / not spicy enough etc etc) but my brain told me everything I’ve ever made from SK has always been brilliant. My brain was definitely right! No idea why lots have had issues with this recipe but it was perfect. I made little biscuits so I reduced the time to 10mins at 180c. It made approx 60 biscuits from the whole batch.
I used treacle (i’m in the UK) and added a touch more spice (1 tsp grated fresh nutmeg, 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger and a teaspoon more ginger).
You DEFINITELY need to glaze these for a perfectly balanced biscuit but without is great if you don’t like things too sweet. Will be making again for sure! Thank you!
Hi, I’ve just discovered your blog and recipes here in Australia, I’ve been searching for that old fashioned dark and spicy gingerbread my Nanna use to make and have struggled to find one anywhere until I came across your recipe! I’ve made it however my dough and gingerbread haven’t turned out dark like this recipe? I’ve used all the same ingredients, what have I done wrong? Aaargh! Cheers Mike