recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

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recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies



  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3-1/2-in. cookie cutter into desired shapes. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
  3. For icing, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, extracts and flavoring in a bowl. Gradually stir in enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Frost cookies.
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

To make these cookies you’ll need:

  • all purpose flour: for structure.
  • ginger, cinnamon, and cloves: our spices! increase a bit for very richly spiced cookies, or decrease for a more mild flavor!
  • baking soda: leavening agent that will help the cookies puff up. should NOT be substituted with baking powder.
  • salt: to balance out the flavors. do not skip it!
  • unsalted butter: salted butter will work in a pinch! just reduce the salt called for in the recipe. be sure your butter is softened to room temperature before making the cookie dough.
  • granulated sugar: for sweetness and structure.
  • light brown sugar: adds sweetness and moisture to the cookies.
  • vanilla extract: enhances the other flavors.
  • eggs: use large eggs, and bring them to room temperature before you begin baking.
  • molasses: be sure to use a variety of mild molasses, not blackstrap!
  • cream cheese: full-fat cream cheese works best, but a reduced-fat variety will work. allow it to come to room temperature before using.
  • confectioners’ sugar: for a silky smooth cream cheese frosting, sift your confectioners’ sugar before adding it to the frosting.
  • fresh lemon juice and lemon zest: adds a pop of bright flavor to the frosting! fresh orange zest could also work! but would slightly change the flavor profile.
  • adorable gingerbread man sprinkles: BECAUSE THEY’RE SO DARN CUTE!!! These are optional, but if you can find them, I highly recommend using them! They don’t add a ton of flavor, but they add a ton of cuteness and are a great conversation starter.

How to make Gingerbread Cookies?

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Set this bowl aside until needed.
  2. Beat the butter, both sugars, and the vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add in the molasses and beat until combined. Then reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill the dough for at least two hours! If you don’t chill the dough, it will spread too much as they bake.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, you’ll want to preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough into 2″ balls and them arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Space them about 2 inches apart for spreading!
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.
  8. Cool cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely, top each cookie with a swirl of cream cheese frosting and then decorate with sprinkles.
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

Should gingerbread cookies be hard or soft?

This is really a personal preference, but I prefer my gingerbread men to be softer with crisp, well-defined edges and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth interiors. If you like dry, crisp gingerbread cookies, this recipe may not be for you.

Are gingerbread cookies the same as gingersnaps?

No! Gingersnaps are typically very crisp (although I do have a soft and chewy version) and have a different spice profile. Gingersnaps have no nutmeg, more ginger, and less cinnamon, plus a few extra spices that differentiate them from gingerbread men. I add both cayenne and black pepper to my gingersnaps to give them a slight heat, which my gingerbread men don’t have.

What kind of molasses do you use for gingerbread cookies?

For these gingerbread cookies, use regular unsulfured molasses. Both light and dark molasses should work, but steer clear of blackstrap molasses which is not as sweet and quite bitter.

How do you know when gingerbread cookies are cooked?

The cookies should be puffy, not shiny and uniform color. As they bake they go from a dark brown color to a lighter brown color.

My dough is crumbly how can I fix this?

If your dough is crumbly, it’s probably because you ended up with slightly too much flour or had a particularly small egg yolk and there wasn’t enough liquid in your dough. Next time measure your flour with a scale (recommended) or using the spoon and sweep method (stir the flour in your container to fluff it up and then spoon it into your measuring cup, sweep excess off with the flat of a knife).

To fix a crumbly dough, add just a bit of milk or water by the 1/4 teaspoon until the dough comes together.

How to keep royal icing?

To store any unused icing, cover with plastic wrap. Press the wrap onto the surface to stop it from setting. Place in the fridge and keep for up to 3 days.

Place on the kitchen bench for 30 minutes to let it come to room temperature before using.

How to colour royal icing?

Add a couple of drops of liquid food colouring to your icing and stir until evenly coloured. Gel food colouring is much more concentrated and you don’t need to use as much. To use it, dip a skewer into the gel and swirl into the icing to add only a little at a time.

How to decorate with royal icing?

You can spread or pipe this icing onto your cookies. If you’re using sprinkles or toppings, press them into the icing immediately to get them to stick. Once the icing is set, decorations won’t stick unless you use a bit more wet icing as glue.

recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

 1 package sugar cookie mix

Royal Icing:


 For Gingerbread Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend all ingredients together and chill for up to 1 hour. Roll dough out on floured board about 1/8-inch thick. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters and place onto sheet pan. Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven.
  3. For Royal Icing:
  4. With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice or extract until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, smooth, and shiny. Turn to high and beat approximately 5 minutes till stiff and glossy. Add food coloring, if desired, and transfer to a pasty bag to pipe onto cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies


  • 10 Tablespoons (2/3 cup; 145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (438g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger (yes, 1 full Tablespoon!)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • optional: easy cookie icing or royal icing
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies
recipe for icing for gingerbread cookies


In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in egg and vanilla on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The butter may separate; that’s ok.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Please see photo and description above in my post. Chill discs for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.


Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Roll out disc until 1/4-inch thick. Tips for rolling– the dough may crack and be crumbly as you roll. What’s helpful is picking it up and rotating it as you go. Additionally, you can use your fingers to help meld the cracking edges back together. The first few rolls are always the hardest since the dough is so stiff, but re-rolling the scraps is much easier. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.

Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. Keep in mind that the longer the cookies bake, the harder and crunchier they’ll be. For soft gingerbread cookies, follow my suggested bake times.

Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.

Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.


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