I’d been promising my boys I would make them gingerbread cookies for Christmas, but I thought they would forget. Boy, was I wrong! As soon as we started putting up Christmas decorations, my four-year-old started asking me about gingerbread cookie or “Coo-Coo Bread,” as my 2-year-old calls them. Truth is, I’ve never made gingerbread cookies before, so I was slightly intimidated to make them.
Finally, I built up enough courage and started playing around with a few recipes. Surprisingly, my first batch of these cookies turned out really good! The only thing I tweaked was the amount of ginger, cinnamon, and the baking time. I like to really taste my spices, so I added more ginger and cinnamon.
Determining the right baking time was tricky. I baked each batch at different times until I achieved the perfect consistency. The baking time also depends on how thick or thin you roll the cookie dough. I like mine slightly thin, so I baked them for about 6 to 7 minutes and they turned out perfectly. When I baked them for 8 to 10 minutes, they turned out too hard (in my opinion), so be sure to keep a close eye on them!
I’ve never decorated a cookie before or made my own royal icing. I was way too intimidated to try this, too! I even considered sprinkling the cookies with powdered sugar to avoid decorating them. Since my boys were really looking forward to these cookies, I knew I needed to at least put a smiley face on them.
My royal icing consisted of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Super easy! I made 3 batches in 3 different colors: white, red, and green. I put the icings in zipper sandwich bags and cut a tiny hole in the corner of each one. Then, I started decorating each cookie. I completely used my own imagination and started to have some fun! I drew Santa hats, little bow ties…I really had a great time doing this because I love to paint.
The icing took about 30 minutes to an hour to completely dry. When these Irresistible Chewy Gingerbread Cookies were ready, I placed them on the kitchen counter so that my boys would see them when they came home from school and their reaction was priceless! My oldest son’s eyes got so big as he screamed, “Mommy, you made gingerbread cookies!” And then he gave me the sweetest hug and said, “I love you, mommy!” My 2-year-old screamed, “Coo-coo bread, coo-coo bread!” This made all of that hard work totally worth it!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup salted butter at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Cream the butter by beating it until creamy. Then beat in egg, molasses, and vinegar.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together and then blend the sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
When the dough is done chilling, preheat oven to 350°F. Roll the dough to your desired thickness, about ½-inch thick, on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Gather and reroll remaining pieces of dough as needed, using all the dough.
Bake at 350°F for 6 to 7 minutes for softer cookies or bake for about 8 to 10 minutes for a sturdier cookie. Let the cookies cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Leave plain or decorate with icing.