Recently I’ve been talking a lot about the beauty of simplicity and why we should strive to make our busy lives and to-do lists a lot simpler around the Christmas season. Making Christmas cookies is a favorite tradition of mine, and I can bet it’s one of your favorites as well. Usually, during the holidays I like to experiment and make several different kinds of sweet treats, from cookies and pies, to cakes and cinnamon rolls. Having a newborn in the house and running much shorter on time, I wanted to simplify my baking and create one cookie recipe we would all enjoy.
The age-old tradition of gingerbread cookies scream simplicity to me. I don’t know if it’s the simple white icing or the traditional recipe but I figured these would be a perfect sweet treat to make for Emmie’s first Christmas. What I love most about gingerbread cookies is the idea that you can make them so personalized. Pick and choose any cookie cutter, pipe out any design, make them as fancy or as simple as you want– gingerbread cookies are just plain fun to make!
These gingerbread cookies are simply made, but there are a few details to pay attention to when making them. I like my gingerbread cookies to be soft, rather than crunchy. In order to make a soft cookie, I suggest not rolling the dough too thin– I rolled my dough out to about 1/3 inch. The second thing to remember is do NOT over bake them. Gingerbread cookies are so easy to over bake, but 8 minutes in the oven and they should be just perfect.
So if you’re looking to simplify this Christmas season, this is the perfect recipe to bring to the table (pun fully intended). If you have little ones, get them involved, this is a perfect recipe for them to help out with. My favorite thing about this recipe is the time flexibility it allows. Like I said earlier, having a newborn means running short on time. I was able to make the dough in the morning, then I came back to cut and bake them in the afternoon.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as my little family and I did. May you have a merry little Christmas and remember, there is always beauty in simplicity.
Classic Gingerbread Cookies
For The Cookies
- 10 Tbsp Softened butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup Brown sugar
- 2/3 cup Pure maple syrup
- 1 large Egg room temperature
- 1 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp Ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin spice
- 1/2 tsp Ground cloves
For The Royal Icing
- 1 1/2 cup Confectioners sugar
- 1/2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Corn syrup light
- 2 Tbsp Water
- pinch of salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using an electric mixer and large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and softened butter on medium speed until whipped together. Add the maple syrup and continue to mix together.
Next, add the egg and the vanilla extract and continue to mix on medium speed until well combined.
In a smaller mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and cloves. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the electric mixer and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer a few times and scrape down the sides.
Using your hands, separate the dough into two portions and continue to kneed each until dough is formed into a ball shape.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out (using four on the rolling pin as well) until the dough is about 1/3 inch thick. Using cookie cutters of your choice, begin cutting out shapes and placing them on a prepared cookie sheet. Continue to reuse and roll out the scraps until the dough is all used. Continue with the second dough ball. Bake for 8 minutes.
While the cookies are baking, begin making the royal icing.
For The Icing
In an electric mixer and large mixing bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, water, and salt together. Mix until a smooth consistency is formed.
Once the cookies are cooled, you can begin decorating the cookies.
Cookies can be stored at room temperate for up to 7 days. Cookie dough can be chilled prior to use for up to 5 days or kept frozen until needed.
Fun Food Fact: Ginger has previously been used as a preservative and healer for many ailments such as upset stomach and nausea. Gingerbread cookies have been a Christmas tradition for centuries, in fact the first gingerbread men date back to the 16th century during the reign of Elizabeth I of England.
This recipe is an original Healthy Chew recipe, all rights reserved.
All photos used were taken by and for The Healthy Chew, all rights reserved.
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