This is our favorite gingerbread cookie recipe. We make these healthier spiced cookies every year at the holidays!
The days are just moving along and we’re now almost a week into December. How did that happen exactly? I really need to get going on my holiday gift shopping. Every year I say I’m going to get it done early, and every year I procrastinate. It’s just that I’d much rather bake cookies and take pretty pictures and share them with you than make decisions about what to buy for everyone on my list.
Let’s make a deal. I’ll promise to make a good dent in my Christmas shopping this week if you promise to try my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe. Sound good? I think you’re getting the better end of the deal because these cookies are super yum! Maybe I should just give cookies to everyone on my list?
I’ve been making this gingerbread cookie recipe for years. Over time, I’ve adapted it to make it healthier. I still use real butter and sugar in these cookies because it’s the holidays and we need some real butter and sugar in our lives. But I’ve decreased the amount of sugar in this recipe, and I’ve swapped half of the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat. The molasses and spices give these cookies so much spiced gingerbread flavor that you won’t even notice the healthier swaps. I bet you could even get away with making these with all whole wheat flour. I like to use white whole wheat because of it’s milder flavor compared to regular whole wheat.
What makes this gingerbread cookie recipe our favorite?
- These cookies come out soft and have lots of molasses and spice flavor.
- Many times you can tell when a dessert recipe has been made healthier. With these cookies, you can’t.
- The dough is easy to make, and you can refrigerate it for just 2 hours or up to 2 days (great for make ahead holiday baking).
- I just love gingerbread cookies! The flavor is my favorite and they are so fun to cut out and decorate with the kids.
Add these gingerbread cookies to your holiday baking list and you will be glad you did. If you can find a mini gingerbread cookie cutter (this set is super cute and I love these as well), the mini cutout cookies are fun to add to cookie plates for gifting. These cookies go perfectly with a mug of gingerbread hot cocoa. And when you do your holiday baking, you’ll also want to try my great-grandma’s cherry cream cheese cookies!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (I like white whole wheat)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened slightly
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes at medium speed, until light and creamy. Add the molasses, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the flour mixture.
- Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
- When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out dough on a floured work surface. (I like to use my silpat.) Use cookie cutters to cut cookies into desired shapes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies. Medium gingerbread cookies bake for 9-10 minutes, and mini cookies bake for about 7 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I’ve updated this post with new photos, and an updated recipe and description. Here’s what I wrote about these cookies back in 2012, along with my original photo.
Have you started your holiday baking yet? Each year my mom, sisters, and I spend a day baking dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies. Last year was the first one where Julia was really able to participate, and she helped roll many a little ball of dough in powdered sugar or chopped nuts. Seeing her excitement for all of the little joys of the season makes this time of year extra special.
We haven’t had our baking day yet this year, but Julia and I did make these gingerbread cookies together this past weekend. As a kid, I always decorated the gingerbread boys and girls with M&M’s, cinnamon red hots (are they even called red hots anymore?), and raisins. So that’s what Julia and I used and the cookies turned out just perfect.
These cookies puff up a little while baking and have a soft texture along with the spiced flavor that you expect from a good gingerbread cookie.