If you need an easy recipe for chewy and soft gingerbread cookies from scratch, you’ve come to the right place!
While the traditional German recipe is time consuming and intense, I’ve broken down this Christmas classic for busy moms.
The homemade dough is simple to put together so you have more time to add cute icing or frosting decorations to the gingerbread men with the kids!
Because seriously, the traditional way to make gingerbread can be a real pain.
Last year my soon-to-be sister in law came over for an entire weekend of Christmas cookie baking fun and we made gingerbread the hard way.
Our hands were sore from kneading, we were impatient to wait for the dough to be chilled for 24 hours and in the end it all got very frustrating!
Chewy and soft gingerbread cookies again, but – not with all that work involved.
So I tweaked the traditional German recipe until I found it was simple enough to handle with a baby at home.
Despite loads of shortcuts and a drastically minimized resting time the cookies turn out perfectly soft and delicious!
And if you keep them in a cookie jar they will keep and stay soft for about 2-3 weeks!
Here are my top tips to make sure these soft gingerbread cookies turn out perfectly every time:
Use the right kind of molasses
In my opinion there’s no gingerbread flavor without molasses – that’s how I know gingerbread from my childhood!
(And I even put them into my favorite holiday drink: Gingerbread Spiced Hot Chocolate!)
You want to use dark molasses, but NOT blackstrap molasses. They are way too bitter and will ruin all your cookie baking efforts 🙁
Don’t let the honey mixture get too cold
It shouldn’t be blazing hot, so give it 15 minutes to sit at room temperature after boiling.
But if you let it stand around for too long, the honey will be super sticky again and the dough won’t come together as easily.
What you need to do is bring honey, molasses (use dark molasses but not the overly bitter blackstrap molasses), brown sugar and butter to a boil, simmer until the sugar has dissolved and cool for about 15 minutes.
While this is cooling you sift flour, baking soda and gingerbread spice mix into a bowl, add in the cooled honey mixture and stir or knead until a sticky dough forms.
Don’t worry about the stickiness of the dough
And when I say stick I do mean sticky – but really, don’t worry at all!
The flour will soak up the excess moisture while the dough is resting.
And yes, the dough is fine to rest despite the baking soda in it! Traditional gingerbread cookies don’t rise much because they’re not supposed to turn out fluffy – we want them to be nice and chewy 🙂
Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling it
The dough will be very hard when it comes out of the fridge – that is how you know you did it right. Yay!
To be able to roll it out easily, allow it to come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Bake the same sizes of cookies together
If you make different sized cookies (for example some gingerbread men, some candy canes and some hearts) and they’re all different sizes, bake them in separate batches.
Otherwise some cookies will be overbaked and tough while others will stay too soft.
You can find a kid-friendly gingerbread man cookie cutter on Amazon here*.
Here’s your printable recipe for the perfect soft gingerbread cookies:
- 1 1/2 cups liquid honey
- 1/2 cup dark molasses, not blackstrap
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons gingerbread spice mix
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Add honey, molasses, brown sugar and butter to a small pot. Heat over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and is liquid, 5-10 minutes. Cool for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Into a large bowl, sift together flour, gingerbread spice mix and baking soda. Stir in the warm honey mixture until a sticky dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, allow the dough to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 320°F. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/3 inch - 1/2 inch thick and cut out cookies. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Do not overbake or they will be too tough!). Cool on a wire rack before decorating and storing in cookie jars.
Nutrition (this is an estimate)
* I make a commission for purchases made through these links.