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?
It might sound odd, but cream cheese frosting is *such* a good combo with gingerbread. You can also go with a plain vanilla frosting if you want something more substantial than icing.
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
These sound perfect! I love gingerbread cookies, but I want to enjoy them and not give the to my daughter to teeth on!. The fact that it is a small batch is appealing. We have a small family and really appreciate a recipe I don’t have to scale down. Small batches are also great for gifts if you want to give several kinds of cookies. Thanks for sharing!
Ha! Thanks, Amanda!! 🙂
Suchi @elegantmeraki says
Such beautiful cookies! Simple and looks a stunner
Thank you, Suchi! I had way too much fun decorating them. 🙂
Igor @ Cooking The Globe says
Yay, small batch! I am tired of all those recipes resulting in 40-50 cookies so thanks for that. These gingerbreads look cute!
Hehe, thanks Igor!
[email protected] says
These are so cute and would be perfect to make with the children for the Holidays 🙂
Thanks, Stephanie! Making these with kids would definitely be tons of fun!
Lynn | The Road to Honey says
These are absolutely adorable Tracy. I’m loving the idea that they are small batch (it’s just the Mr and I so we don’t need dozens upon dozens of cookies laying around) & can be used to make cupcakes all the cuter. As for the faux Royal Icing. . .pure genius. Royal Icing is such a pain to make.
Thanks, Lynn. Totally agree on the royal icing. It’s great, but some days, I just DO NOT have it in me to make it. 😉
Is the shortening absolutely needed or can it be replaced with butter?
Unfortunately it’s needed. Batches with all butter won’t hold their shape well during baking.
Thank you for the quick reply! Can’t wait to try these out, trying to find a good recipe for a friend who believes gingerbread should be a year round treat 🙂
Ha! I was wondering why I was getting a question about these in May. 😉 Hope she likes them!
I’m wondering if I can make the dough ahead of time and wrap it up in plastic wrap and then roll out the next day.
Thanks for your help!
Hi, Alissa. Should be fine, but you might have to let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to warm up just a bit so it doesn’t crack when you roll it out. Hope you enjoy the cookies!
Siobhan Siedziuk says
Hi! Was just wondering if I could skip refrigerating the dough whilst it’s rolled out and just cut them into shapes and refrigerate those for 90 mins? Instead of refrigerating twice?
Hi, Siobhan, the dough will be hard to cut into shapes without chilling it first. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll the dough out and then pop it in the freezer until chilled enough to work with. Then just either put the cut-out cookies back in the freezer for a few minutes or chill in the refrigerator. The first chill makes it easier to handle your dough and the second will help keep the cookies from spreading as much in the oven. Hope that helps!
I am allergic to soybeans, which is an ingredient in regular shortening. Do you have a suggestion of another ingredient to use as a replacement for the shortening? Thanks!
Hi, Jay, you can try using all butter, but the cookies won’t keep their shape quite as well. I also did a quick search and it looks like there are a couple brands of shortening that don’t use soy that might be an option if you want to use shortening. Hope that helps!
Going to make these tonight , how do you store them once baked?
Airtight container at room temperature. Hope you enjoy them!
Thanks so much made them turned out great just the right amount for my 3yr. Old great grandson.
So thrilled to hear this! Thanks for reporting back!
They are delicious. Followed the recipe exactly, baked for 8 minutes. (One of my cookie cutters was pretty small–I think that may explain the quick bake time.) My only issue was the dough was a bit crumbly, most of my gingerbread people lost a limb or two! Still, very yummy. Thanks so much for a great, small batch recipe!!
So glad you enjoyed them, Annie!
Quinn Underhill says
Super easy and great flavour. However, my dough was VERY crumbly and hard to work with. As a result my cookies were all different thicknesses. I didn’t have shortening though and used only butter. That could have something to do with my crumbly dough. I will for sure make them again using shortening and a shorter cooking time.
Hi, Quinn, glad the flavor came out okay! As for the crumbly dough, shortening might help some, but also if you aren’t already, try measuring the flour with a scale or using the scoop 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). Too much flour can definitely cause a crumbly dough. Next time, you can also add just a tiny bit (like 1/4 teaspoon) of milk to the dough if it’s still crumbly. Hope that helps!
Terry Ramirez says
This recipe is great! I substituted pumpkin pie spice for all but the cinnamon.
Nice and spicy, husband loved them!