Cute, festive, and seasonally spiced Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies make the perfect treat for a snowy holiday night. Or, package up the dry mix for a thoughtful edible gift that your loved ones will surely thank you for.
Gingerbread is a classic flavor for Christmas. But traditional gingerbread can be hard and tough to eat. So I’ve taken all of the warming, spiced flavors of gingerbread that you love and turned them into a sweet, soft, and chewy cookie that’s good enough to enjoy all year long. Top your cut-out cookies with tangy cream cheese frosting to make cute treats with an extra touch of sweetness.
How to Make Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
The key to making soft and chewy gingerbread cookies is to not overmix or overbake them. When you combine the wet and dry ingredients to make your cookie dough, stop mixing as soon as you have a cohesive, uniform dough on your hands.
The second important step to ensuring your cookies are thick and soft is to err on the side of underbaking them. Set your timer for 7 minutes after putting them in the oven and check the cookies frequently. They’re done when the bottom is just starting to turn golden brown. Remember that the cookies will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven, especially if you let them rest on the hot baking sheet.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup molasses
- 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup honey
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1¼ cups unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a large bowl, prepare the cookie dough. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and molasses.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and salt.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides as you go.
- Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
- While the dough chills, prepare your frosting.
- In a small saucepan, heat the honey over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until golden in color and aromatic, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Stir in the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated.
- The mixture should be smooth and pliable, not too stiff and not runny. Cover the bowl or transfer the mixture to a gallon Ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- When the cookie dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease two baking sheets.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to ¼-½ of an inch thick. Cut shapes with any cookie cutter. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 7-12 minutes (depending on thickness) or until the cookies are barely hinting at a golden color.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Using a piping bag, offset spatula, or a butter knife, spread a thin layer of the prepared icing over one cookie at a time and decorate as you please! The icing will set as it’s spread, making toppings more difficult to stick, so it’s better to decorate 2-3 cookies at a time to ensure they dry properly. Have fun and serve immediately.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days or freeze up to 3 months. Icing can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer.
We love decorating the cookies with the frosting recipe indicated above!
Frosting & Decorating Gingerbread Cookies
This cream cheese frosting recipe is not your typical cake frosting. It’s perfect for decorating holiday cookies like these gingerbread cut-outs. Sweetened with honey and maple syrup, this frosting is the ideal flavor complement to toasty gingerbread spices.
When making the frosting, be sure to use softened cream cheese for a light, fluffy consistency. Note that this frosting will dry pretty quickly after spreading it on your cookie cut-outs. I recommend having your decorations at the ready and working with one or two cookies at a time. Swipe on a layer of frosting then quickly add all the candies, sprinkles, and other decorations you like before letting the frosting dry.
Giftable Gingerbread Cookie Mix
It might not be a surprise that one of my favorite ways to celebrate the holidays is with edible gifts. This gingerbread cookie recipe in particular lends itself to easy gifting. Simply package up the dry ingredients however you like, attach a handwritten recipe, and you have an inexpensive, heartfelt gift that is guaranteed to bring your loved one’s joy.
I hope you have a delicious and happy holiday season! Be sure to follow along on Instagram for more festive treats and holiday decorating ideas. I can’t wait to see you there!