This gingerbread soft cookies with icing are the best you will ever try. They have this heavenly aroma of honey, ginger, cloves. Just like the European style gingerbread should be.
Who doesn’t love soft gingerbread cookies with icing for Christmas? I make them every year, and we have so much fun to decorate them with my whole family. These soft gingerbread cookie recipe might be slightly different from classic North American gingerbread.
This soft gingerbread cookie recipe are very similar to German gingerbread. And the main difference is in the sweetener. In German gingerbread we use honey to sweeten the dough instead of molasses. So you will have gingerbread cookies with pleasant honey aroma.
What ingredients are used in this gingerbread soft cookies
- all-purpose flour
- fine or confectioner sugar
- lemon zest
- baking soda
- mix of ginger spices (ginger, cloves, cinnamon & allspice)
How to make Gingerbread soft cookies
The process is fairly easy, but for those who had never baked gingerbread before, I will walk you through the whole process. What is important and what we can let go?
Use electric stand mixer, if you can. This will speed up the process and you will save some energy for decorating. You can always work out while preparing gingerbread dough. But trust me, it’s all much easier with a little help of stand mixer. I wouldn’t trade my KitchenAid for anything else in the world.
Separate dry and wet ingredients. It’s always very helpful to prepare all the ingredients in advance. Sift the flour and confectioner sugar (if using) together. Add the zest from one small lemon and baking soda with ground gingerbread spices.
Homemade Gingerbread spice blend
Gingerbread spice. We all have our favourite blend. Some buys already mixed gingerbread spice and some (like me) have to make my own. My favourite gingerbread blend is made with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger. Sometimes I add even nutmeg.
Cinnamon (2 teaspoons) and ginger (1 teaspoon) is the main part of my blend, and then I slowly add ground allspice (1/2 – 1 tsp) and ground cloves. Clove is intensely aromatic spice, so I go easy on this one and add only 1/2 teaspoon. All together the blend should be around 50 grams, but it’s very approximate. If you are using already premixed gingerbread spice, use 4 teaspoons.
Let chill the dough and wrap it well in food foil. The dough has to be chilled at least 1 full hour in the refrigerator. But the really great trick is, to leave it to rest overnight. The dough will have more time to relax the glutens and won’t be too sticky. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you will be working with the dough.
Roll the dough
Add flour if needed when rolling. The dough shouldn’t be that sticky, but sure you will have to dust the surface before rolling the dough. When you will remove the dough from the refrigerator, it should be at perfect temperature to roll. Roll the dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out the shapes of ginger men, hearts, starts, whatever you have on hand.
Place the cut out cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and keep a space in between them. The cookies will spread, so keep them 1 inch apart. Before you will place them in the oven, brush them with warm water. This way they will stay soft. Baking time is in between 10-12 minutes. Check for the colour. When the edges start to get little brownish, take them out of the oven.
After baking, brush the ginger cookies again, but this time with egg (or only egg yolk). If you use the whole egg, make sure you whisk it well before using it. This will give the gingerbread cookies shine.
How to decorate gingerbread cookies
Icing. I am using icing with egg whites. It holds really well and it dries fairly quickly. Decorating gingerbread cookies is the most fun part. Every year, we sit down at the table with my kids and we each get a few cookies to decorate. The creativity is endless. Get inspired by these pictures in this post, I think there is quite enough of inspiration here.
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More Christmas cookies recipes
GINGERBREAD SOFT COOKIES – PERNICKY
- 560 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 360 g fine sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tbs honey
- 50 g softened butter
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- zest from one small lemon
- 1 large egg
- little bit of warm water
- 2 large egg whites
- 750 g confectioner (icing) sugar
For the gingerbread dough
- In a medium bowl of a stand electric mixer with paddle attachment, combine all dry ingredients and then add all wet ingredients for the dough. Mix on medium-high speed until a ball is shaped. Cover it in plastic food wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 177 C. Roll out the gingerbread dough on clean floured working surface about (3-5 mm) 1/4 inch thick and cut out your preferred Christmas cookie shapes.
- Place the cookies on a baking sheet, covered with parchment paper, placing them 1 inch apart. Brush them with warm water before placing them in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Take the gingerbread cookies out of the oven and brush them off with whisked whole egg (or egg yolk only). This will give them a nice shine.
- Let the cookies cool off on the baking sheet and place them on a plate. Decorate them with icing.
- In a medium kitchen bowl, with hand electric mixer, whisk the egg white on low-medium speed. Gradually increase the speed to high and mix until soft peaks are formed.
- Add the confectioner sugar and mix on high speed until the icing is smooth and thick.
- Place it in the plastic piping bag and cut a tiny hole to decorate the cookies. Use immediately for decorating the cookies or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It is good for up to one week, if kept in the fridge.
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