Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this weekend! These cookie shapes don’t fit the Thanksgiving theme, but I’m slowly getting ready for Christmas and couldn’t resist trying these cookie cutters when I saw them at Michael’s Craft Store. Simple and sweet, the shapes are easy to decorate and are perfect little holiday gifts.
Just a few notes on the baking and decorating process before I share the recipe:
If you’d like to get a head start on your baking, the beautiful thing about cookies is that they freeze really well. If you’d like to start baking and decorating early, click on the links to find posts on freezing cookies, thawing cookies and the shelf life of cookies.
In order to make decorating a large number of cookies (for me) manageable, I break up the process a bit. If you’re interested, here is a cookie decorating schedule, 3 day or 6 day, depending on what suits you best.
I’ve made a video showing how I decorated similar penguin and snowman cookies, which you can find in this post here.
I’ll share my basic tips in case you’re new to decorating, otherwise please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below.
Royal Icing Consistency
The consistency of icing is key for easy decorating. Click here to see a YouTube video on finding the right icing thickness for basic flooding and decorating. Here is a link to the royal icing recipe as well.
What you’ll need (Any Amazon links in this post are affiliate links):
- Piping Tips – PME #1.5, PME #2 and PME #3
- Piping Bags
- Gel paste colors
- Scribe Tool or Toothpicks
- Sanding Sugar
Here is a playlist of how-to videos I’ve made about cookie decorating basics (tools, how to outline and flood etc.). I’ve made a video showing how I decorated similar penguin and snowman cookies, which you can find in this post here.
As mentioned earlier, I found these cookie cutters at Michael’s Craft Store, and then was delighted to find matching gift card packs and ornaments at the check-out.
Of course, I couldn’t resist.
There are little pockets at the back, meant for a gift card…
I’ve already given them away to some friends, and packaged the cookies in small cellophane bags first.
This heat sealer (below), makes sealing the cookies in bags much quicker than ribbon. I love it! Although ribbon is pretty, if I have more than 10 cookies to bag, I use it. Such a time saver!
Onto the recipe!
Chocolate Gingerbread Cut Out Cookie Recipe
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup molasses
- ¼ cup (1.5 oz) milk chocolate chips, melted
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- Cream the butter and two sugars together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated - for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more. Over mixing the butter and sugars in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you'd like a light and fluffy cookie, that's ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you'd like the cookie to hold its shape.
- Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
- Add molasses and mix.
- Add your melted chocolate and mix.
- Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt).
- Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won't escape. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; mix until the dough clumps around the paddle attachment. The dough should peel away from the sides of the mixer and clump around the paddle attachment. You can also test the dough by pinching it between your thumb and index finger. If it’s soft but not sticky, it’s just right. If it’s too sticky when you pinch it between your fingers, add flour, ¼ cup at a time, and mix until you’re happy with the texture. There are various reasons why a dough can be too dry or too wet, ranging from humidity in the environment, to what kind of flour you use, the fat content of the butter etc., however, there are ways to fix the issues if you run into them. Already mentioned, add flour if your dough is too sticky, and if it’s too dry, make sure you’ve mixed it as best as you can first, and if it’s still too dry, add a little water or milk until your dough comes together.
- Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge or freezer for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Re-roll scraps and repeat. If your dough gets too soft to work with, place in the fridge or freezer periodically to firm up again.
- Once all cut out, put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again. They will then hold their shape better when baked.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
- Bake cookies for 7-12 minutes or until the center of the cookie no longer looks wet. The baking time will depend on the size and thickness of your cookie.
- Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate if you like!
*Butter - The butter needs to be soft, or room temperature. I leave mine out the night before I do my baking. If you forget, you can grate the butter on the largest hole of your box grater, so that the sugar and butter will mix together better or put the butter on a plate in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds to soften it. It should be soft to the touch, but not so soft it’s turning to liquid.
Please feel free to ask any questions below and thanks for visiting me here!
Happy baking and decorating!
p.s. Sorry about all the photos, I had a little fun photographing them and didn’t know which ones to choose!