This perfect sweet and spicy Small-batch Gingerbread Cookie recipe will make 6 to 8 large cookies and about 2 dozen mini gingerbread cookies.
It’s that time of year again, time to talk about Christmas cookies! Last week, I posted about these Small-batch Snowball Cookies, and today I have another Christmas cookie for you, Small-batch Gingerbread Cookies!
Gingerbread can be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it’s too spicy, too hard, too soft.
But *this* gingerbread is like the Goldilocks version of gingerbread. It has a great spicy kick without being overpowering. When you bite into them, there’s a little snap, but they’re also a bit chewy, so you aren’t going to break your teeth on these tasty little cookies.
Basically, they’re the best, and since this gingerbread cookie recipe is a small-batch gingerbread cookie recipe, you can whip them up whenever you feel like adding a bit of Christmas to your day.
It will make 6 to 8 largish gingerbread cookies or about 2-dozen bite-sized mini cookies (my favorite).
- Unsulfured molasses: The standard molasses you buy at the grocery store is usually unsulfured. It will typically say unsulfured right on the label. If you don’t often cook with molasses, it’s a handy ingredient to have around, especially during the holidays, and once opened, it will keep for about a year. In the grocery store, you can usually find it near the syrups in the baking or breakfast aisle.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted butter is fine here.
- Vegetable shortening: The recipe uses a combination of shortening and butter to achieve the best texture possible, but if you don’t have shortening, you can replace the shortening with the same amount of butter. Cookies made with butter will spread a bit more, but will still be great.
- Egg yolk: Since this is a small-batch recipe you don’t need a whole egg, just the yolk. For ideas on what to do with the leftover egg white, check out my post What to Do With Leftover Egg Whites (I recommend a small batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins).
How to Make Small-batch Gingerbread Cookies
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl.
- In a medium bowl, beat together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in molasses and egg yolk. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the flour mixture a third at a time. Mixing in the flour will take a little time. Just keep stirring until it’s all mixed.
- Once your dough comes together, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper and refrigerate the dough for 45 minutes.
- After the dough is chilled, cut into shapes, refrigerate them for an additional 15 minutes to help them hold their shape in the oven, and then bake until the edges are set. Decorate with icing and enjoy!
Quick Icing for Gingerbread Cookies
And because we are only making a small batch of cookies, I figure you probably aren’t going to want to take the time to make royal icing, so I used a quick faux royal icing on these.
This icing is made with just 3 ingredients, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. It won’t pipe as cleanly or dry nearly as hard as real royal icing, but it works well as a quick substitute and tastes fantastic.
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. If you’re wondering what’s up with all the different varieties of molasses, I really like this article on the topic.
Can I use royal icing on these cookies?
Absolutely. If you want to use royal icing, make up a quick batch and go for it.
What other frosting can I use for gingerbread cookies?
Why did my gingerbread turn out hard?
If your cookies turned out hard, they were probably baked too long. Next time bake the cookies for a shorter time, just until they begin to look set around the edges.
Can I freeze these cookies?
Yes! Gingerbread cookies freeze very well. Just store them in an airtight container or freezer bag and they’ll keep in your freezer for up to 2 months.
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.
More Christmas Recipes
More Small-batch Cookie Recipes
- Small-batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Small-batch Cut-out Sugar Cookies
- Small-batch Oatmeal Cookies
- Small-batch Shortbread Cookies
Or check out my entire Small-batch Cookie Recipe Archive.
Small-batch Gingerbread Cookies With Faux Royal Icing
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (135g) all-purpose flour measured by weight or using the spoon and sweep method*
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (24g) vegetable shortening room temperature*
- 3 tablespoons (38g) packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
- 1 large egg yolk
Faux Royal Icing
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined. Add sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add molasses and egg yolk and beat until completely incorporated.
- Add flour one-third at a time and use a spoon to stir until well-mixed and no streaks of dry flour remain.
- Roll the dough out 1/4-inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper, slide parchment paper and dough onto a baking sheet or other flat surface, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Cut out cookies, re-rolling dough between parchment paper as needed. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow cookies to firm up so they don't spread too much in the oven.
- Bake for 9 to 14 minutes depending on cookie size, until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheet until cool enough to handle and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Faux Royal Icing
- Whisk together powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of the milk, and vanilla. Add milk by the 1/4 teaspoon until icing reaches a consistency where if you run a knife through it, it takes 20 seconds to fill back in completely. Transfer icing to a piping bag or disposable plastic bag with the tip cut off and go wild decorating!
- Allow icing 5 to 10 minutes to set before eating and enjoy!
Gingerbread Adapted From Food Network