Nov 23


Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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Decorated Nutcracker Cookies

I couldn’t resist; a few weeks ago I put up a Christmas tree (yes, I know, ahem, a few weeks ago), with some of these nutcracker ornaments.

This little guy got me thinking about nutcracker cookies.

Or cookie I should say.  I only ended up making the one… He took a little longer than usual to finish.  This pic shows the beginning stages of decoration.

Since I’m not very skilled at drawing (or adept at chosing the right side of the cookie apparently), I used an image of Christmas stickers with my KopyKake projector.  First piped the dark outlines, then flooded the first layer.  After that dried I added more layers of detail.

I’m thinking I’d like to try another one with him {below} as the inspiration:

Gingerbread has never been my favorite cookie, but I do like the taste of the recipe I use from my sister-in-law.  It had a bit of a ‘bite’ to it originally (spicy), so I’ve changed it a bit over the years to make it a little more neutral.  (Especially for kids!)  If you like a bit more of a ‘kick’, add one teaspoon more of the ginger, cinammon and cloves and one teaspoon of pepper.

It’s a great recipe for gingerbread houses as well.  If you’d like to try it out, check out the recipe below.

For the royal icing recipe, click here.


Gingerbread Cookie Recipe


For the printer-friendly version, click here.


800 g all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder  *do not use baking powder if you do not want cookies to spread/rise

250 g unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup molasses





1.     In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy.

2.     Mix in spices first, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low.

3.     Sift together flour, salt and baking powder and add to bowl; mix until just combined.

4.     Wrap dough in a disc shape in saran wrap. Let it rest by refrigerating until cold, about 1 hour.

5.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface or between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thick.

6.     Cut shapes out with cookie cutters and place them approximately 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

7.     Refrigerate until firm; at least 15 minutes to 1 hour.

8.     Bake cookies until lightly golden; 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.


Happy baking!



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  1. Deanna
    November 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian :) I’m really excited to try making my own gingerbread house with this recipe. When rolling out the dough is 1/4″ also a good thickness when making houses? Or is that only for shaped cookies.

  2. Terri
    November 30, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    800 g—Is that grams?

  3. Charlene
    December 6, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    @ Terri:
    Yes g is grams

  4. Tina
    December 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Is this enough to build a ginger bread house or should I double the recipe?

  5. marian
    December 7, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Yes, @ Tina, it’s enough to build the small house I have/template I have posted. Happy decorating!

  6. marian
    December 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Deanna: Yes that thickness if fine for a gingerbread house. Honestly you can make it as thick or thin as you like, keeping in mind really thin is more fragile, and thick walls harder to keep standing due to their weight.

  7. December 11, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian! You are the cookie queen, seriously. I have been addicted to your youtube video’s lately, trying to get myself ready to decorate cookies for christmas. I’m baking these gingerbread cookies as-we-speak and I just took a peek and they are all puffy and huge, the shape is totally distorted :( any idea why this is happening? After I cut out the shapes I put them back in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up. They seemed firm to the touch, but maybe I didn’t let them chill long enough?? Please help! Thankfully I did a small test batch first so not too much dough is wasted…yet!! :(

  8. marian
    December 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Gina: Yes, chill them more and here is a post for you on preventing spreading:

    If it’s too late for the dough you’ve made, bake the shapes and then cut them with the cutter again once they come out of the oven.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Liz
    December 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian, Apologies if you have had this question before, my computer won’t let me go back to all of the old questions from this post. I would love to make this gingerbread recipe but am in Australia and molasses is an ingredient that is pretty hard to come by. Is it possible to use something else? Golden syrup perhaps? Also do you have a recipe for chocolate cookies? Thanks so mch, your posts are inspring for this very new cookie baker!

  10. marian
    December 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    No worries, @ Liz. I’ve had a few people ask me, and I’m not 100% sure actually. I thought Golden syrup would work best, but a few people were discussing it on my facebook page, and one person mentioned this link:

    Hope that helps!

  11. December 15, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Marian, this nutcracker cookie is gorgeous!

  12. December 19, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Marian, I’ve used Golden Syrup in several recipes from Australia, and I’ve also substituted molasses for the golden syrup and it works fine. Molasses, of course, makes the gingerbread darker and more traditional. The golden syrup is paler but still delicious…I added cloves for more zing. Good luck Aussie friends!

  13. Lucia
    December 20, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Hi, I was looking for a gingerbread cookie recipe and I found yours, I tried the past weekend and the cookies turned out amazing although I had to substitute molasses with golden syrup since I’m from Italy and molasses isn’t easy to find here.

  14. Jessica
    December 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m baking these cookies now. It was refrigerated for over an hour and now I’m trying to cut the shapes hut the dough is sticking to the cookie cutters even with flour everywhere. It’s seems too doughy. Any suggestions?

  15. Tiffany
    December 21, 2012 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Sorry if this has been asked already. Do you use fancy or blackstrap molasses? I find they’re quite different.


  16. marian
    December 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, @ marla!

    Super, thanks, @ Sarah!

    @ Jessica: Roll it between parchment and chill it periodically. xo

    @ Tiffany: There’s one comment a few up from yours with an answer, and, since lots of people have been asking, I posted the question on facebook two days ago, and got lots of answers. I can’t copy and paste the link, but it was posted on Wed. Dec. 19th/12.

  17. marian
    December 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Ooops, @ Tiffany: I meant to answer that question elsewhere… i use fancy molasses.

  18. Tiffany
    December 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    @ marian:
    Thanks Marian, Merry Christmas!

  19. Leyda
    April 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Marian,

    I followed your gingerbread recipe and the cookies ended up very tasty, but a bit hard. Any idea why this may have happened? Also, is it possible to follow the exact recipe with light brown sugar instead?

    Thank you!

  20. April 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi @ Leyda: The longer you bake your cookies, the harder or crispier they will be. Try baking them a little less… Only bake them until the middle no longer looks ‘wet’. (Use your oven light to peek at them).
    And yes, you can follow the recipe with light brown sugar – the color will just be lighter.

  21. Jenny H.
    May 23, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink


    is that the same recipe you were using for your gingerbread houses?

  22. marian
    May 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Yes, in the houses I’ve made in the last few years, @ Jenny H.. (i.e. the little houses in the video). I’ll be using it from here on in as I really like it. Before I was using Teresa Layman’s recipe from her books, which I also liked and would recommend, I just like this one a bit better.

  23. Lourdes
    July 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Hello Marian,
    How many cups are 800 g of flour?

  24. Julianne
    October 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    If it helps, in the UK I’ve found molasses in Holland & Barrett before and I’ve always thought that the nearest supermarket equivalent to molasses was treacle (usually found in tins alongside the golden syrup).

  25. Irene
    November 12, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    After googling molasses since it’s not readily available in Australia, a good substitute is treacle which is available. Hope this helps my fellow Aussies. I’m hoping to make a Gingerbread House like the ones on Sweetopia. Thanks Marian xx

  26. Megan
    November 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Marian. Great inspiration for making a gingerbread house! Kind of a similar question to Jenny H. – you mention in your recipe to omit the baking powder to prevent spreading/rising. Is this recommended for gingerbread houses or do you leave it in?

    • marian
      January 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Megan,
      Sorry for the delay! I just saw this comment now!
      Yes, I also take the leavening agent out of my gingerbread house cookies.
      Hopefully that helps for the next time you make one! (next year?) xo

  27. Liz
    November 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi there. For all the Aussie bakers, I don’t know if it is in all their stores but in Victoria I have found molasses in Safeway/Woolworths. Just made my first batch of Xmas cookies using your recipe Marian. Absolutely delicious!

    • marian
      November 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Liz,
      That’s great news, thanks for sharing! And I’m glad you like the cookies! Would love to see the finished ones if you’d like to share on my Facebook page. xo

  28. Alessia
    December 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge! I was wondering for how long can I keep (well closed) this cookies and they will be still fresh?
    I did your recipe for the Royal Icing one week ago and still have some left, may I use it? Or shall I make new Icing?
    I am replacing the half of the molasses with honey, because i like the taste better, hope it works! Now the dough is on the fridge!

  29. Alessia
    December 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Dear Marian, The cookies are a succes!!! The taste is delicious, and they didnt stick on the parchment paper, everything was great although I think they are not hard enough. I will try with a little more oven… thanks for your help!!

  30. Kelly
    December 6, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian! I love these nutcrackers! Quick question… what did you use for the pink sparkle?

    • marian
      December 8, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly,
      Disco dust. (Link in my amazon shop if you’re looking for it). Since I’ve made these, we now know that disco dust is not only non-toxic (as known before), but for decorative purposes only. Just an FYI – put it on parts of your sweets which can be removed or have a few for display only.

  31. Monika
    December 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    Omg your cookies are georgius!!! My question ,for the gingerbread house do i have to put the baking powder?
    Best Regard!

    • marian
      December 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi Monika,
      I don’t. :)
      Have fun baking and decorating! xo

  32. December 13, 2013 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian, can I substitute a little amount of flour with cocoa powder? I love chocolate and would love to bake a chocolate ginger bread house, but can’t seem to find a good recipe for it. Thank you!

  33. Donna
    December 13, 2013 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    Thanks so much for your inspiration. I started baking and decorating cookies after seeing your website. I’m trying this gingerbread recipe as I’m typing. I will use your royal icing recipe (with eggs, as it’s hard to get Meringue Powder in Australia!) When I’m done, I’ll post you a link so you can take a look. Just tasted the cookie Mix – It’s Delicious.
    Donna xo

    • marian
      January 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Hi Donna,
      So nice to hear from you, thank you for your lovely comment! xo

  34. Damián
    December 15, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Hi, I really enjoy with all your post. I’m Spanish guy living in London, but in Christmas I’m going to Spain. And in Spain it is impossible found molasses, Can I make this recipe without molasses or change for honey? Thank you very much and Happy Christmas everyone!!

    • marian
      January 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Hi Damian,
      Have you tried it with the honey? Sorry for the delay!

  35. elle
    December 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    hi i am just about to bake a Gingerbread house, was going to double maybe triple the mix and make some Gingerbread cookies as well, can i ask how long will the royal icing last once make it, and also the Gingerbread dough (if i keep both in the fridge?)

    really looking forward to get started :)

  36. December 24, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Marian,

    I finally finished my gingerbread cookies. They are delicious. Feel free to visit my site to take a look at the pictures. :)


    • marian
      January 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Hi Donna!
      They are so pretty! Glad you liked the gingerbread recipe! xo

  37. flavia
    December 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Marian,
    That’s a dreamy dough!! I’ve made two batches before from other recipe which were a nightmare to work, then had to make another house for school xmas fair and decided to try yours.. perfect, stress free, and delicious. And it was enough for two houses. Thanks so much for sharing with us. :-)
    Happy christmas from Ireland :-)

    • marian
      December 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful, Flavia! I’m super happy to hear that! Merry Christmas!

  38. Judith
    December 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Marian. I learned so much from you and I LOVE all your cookies. I would like to know where do you get your cool cookie cutters. I’m in Winnipeg ,Canada.
    The stores here just got the basics. Judith

  39. May 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

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