Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

version-2Gingerbread is my second favorite cookie, after those soft sugar cookies you get in the mall. Yes, I know.  I’m not a very discerning cookie eater, but I sure like those things.

I love it when Christmas time comes around and I can break open the old recipe binder and make batch after batch of gingerbread. I know my sugar cookie recipe so well, that I don’t need to read it and I can make royal icing without measuring, but I use this recipe so infrequently I forget what’s in it from year to year.

I have been thinking about starting my holiday baking since my friend Glory made a beautiful gingerbread garland. However I didn’t really get the umph to do it until after the cookie decorating party I went to on Saturday.  As soon as I walked in the door, the air was heavy with the telltale scent of gingerbread.  To make matters BETTER, it tasted as good as it smelled!  As soon as I made it home, I got started.

I came up with this recipe in the early years of my cookie obsession. As an inexperienced baker, I had no idea what recipe to use so I printed out about four and tweaked and combined them until I came up with something I loved.

You might notice that my recipe calls for shortening.  If you have an aversion to shortening, use butter or half butter, half shortening.  Substitution is fine.

The bad thing about gingerbread is that I like the dough just about as much as  the actual cookies. It tastes so “earthy” I like to tell myself it isn’t so bad for me, but, my waistline says different.  On that note,  I feel like I should warn you that I like spicy gingerbread.  If you don’t, adjust  it to your personal preference.  Under no circumstance should you use the ten year old spices you have.  Save those for gingerbread playdough.  For the best flavor, buy new spices every year.

SweetSugarBelle’s Gingerbread


  • ½ c butter flavor shortening
  • ½ c butter
  • 1c granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼c unsulphered molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. flavoring extract such as vanilla or orange
  • 5-5 ½c all-purpose flour {sometimes even six}
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼- ½ tsp ground white pepper {optional}


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together shortening butter and granulated sugar. Add the molasses and eggs and whip until light and fluffy. Sift all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl then use a measuring cup to add the dry ingredients about a cup at a time. Seperate the dough into three equal piecesthen wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or two. Roll out on floured parchment paper to about 1/4 an inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place the cut out cookies into the freezer for ten minutes or so before baking. Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes for small cookies, 8-10 minutes for medium, and 10-15 minutes for large. Let cool, then decorate with vanilla royal icing.


Cookies can be decorated with royal icing or glaze.

Ovens vary and gingerbread has to be watched. This year, my baby cookies took about 8 minutes and medium-ish ones ten. I really watch them. It’s kind of hard to tell when gingerbread is done because you cannot see browning. If you wait until you do, you have gone too far and will have hockey pucks rather than cookies. So, watch those baking times, stay near the oven until you figure out what it’s going to do.

I like decorate with simple vanilla royal icing so that the flavor of the cookie shines through.  I think my buddy here agrees.

 I hope everyone is having an amazing holiday season!