If you’ve ever purchased one of those store-bought gingerbread decorating kits, you understand how they often leave much to be desired. Stale cookies, messy icing mixes and broken candy can leave anyone feeling more like a Grinch and less filled with holiday cheer. But we’re all for traditions, especially when you learn just how easy gingerbread is to make from scratch. Not only will your home smell delicious for days, but you’ll be able to control how crunchy or soft you want them. You’ll also be able to make a homemade frosting that will not only help hold your house and its decorations together, but make it a seriously tasty treat to dig into once you’re done decorating. After all, what’s the point of all that hard work if you don’t get to eat it after? Pro tip: we recommend making extra so you can also bake and decorate gingerbread people.
Learn how to make gingerbread as well as some helpful decorating tips from our online pastry school chef in this baking tutorial. Once you learn how easy it is, you’ll never think twice about buying one of those pre-made kits again.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well blended.
2. Using a hand mixer or standing mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and egg on medium speed until blended.
3. Add the molasses and vanilla extract and continue to mix until completely incorporated.
4. Starting on low, gradually add dry ingredients until dough is smooth. Increase speed as you go.
5. Let stand for a minimum of 2 hours. (Dough can be stored in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before baking)
6. Once dough is done resting, preheat oven to 375F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
7. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle more flour on dough and rolling pin and roll it out until it’s about ¼ inch thick. You can use more flour, if needed, to avoid sticking.
8. Cut out cookies with desired cookie cutter shapes or, using a pizza wheel, cut by hand to desired shapes. Gently place on the baking sheet, spacing them out about 1 inch apart.
9. Bake for about 7 minutes for softer cookies and 10 minutes for harder ones. Remove carefully and let cool on a wire rack.