Easy homemade gingerbread cookies that are truly prepared from your heart from scratch.
Surprise your family friends with old fashioned cookies and enjoy baking and decorating your own gingerbread cookies.
Gingerbread Cookies vs Lebkuchen
Gingerbread and the German Lebkuchen cookies are related but they are not completely the same thing.
There are countless lebkuchen varieties but the classic lebkuchen are most related to gingerbread cookies.
Gingerbread cookies are made with molasses, lebkuchen are made with honey.
The spices between the two cookies differe too.
Gingerbread contains mainly ginger and lebkuchen has a whole other set of spices which is sometimes sold as lebkuchen spice.
You will need the following inrgedients to make gingerbread cookies at home from scratch.
- all-purpose flour
- molasses - I use dark molasses
- brown sugar
- baking powder
- egg yolk
- ginger ground or freshly grated
- lemon zest - freshly grated from an untreated lemon (no pesticides)
- clove spice ground
You can use whole spices but grind them in a spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle, just as I did.
I don't recommend switching molasses with something else. Molasses are what make gingerbread cookies the way they are.
For the decoration I combine a few drops of lemon juice with powdered sugar.
How to make Gingerbread Cookies?
Here is an overview on how you can make your own set of gingerbread cookies at home.
Find the US and metric measurements at the bottom of this post. The video is the pop up.
Grind spices if you are using whole spices.
Combine all dough ingredients to form a smooth non-sticky or non-dry dough.
Wrap with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for at least 30 mins to cool and to get hard.
Roll out dough with plenty of all-purpose flour so that it doesn't stick. Roll out to ⅛ - almost ¼ inch or 3 - 5 mm thickness.
Cut out cookies and place cookies over baking sheet laid out with parchment paper.
Bake cookies. Leave to cool.
Combine icing sugar and lemon juice for cookie icing mass and place that in a piping bag with a thin nozzle.
Decorate cookies with lemon flavored sugar glaze or royal icing.
Shapes and Decoration
I used a classic gingerbread man cookie cutout but you are free to pick whichever shape you like.
You can get reindeer, star, house, moon, snowflake or christmas father shapes.
You can also make giant cookies with large cookie cutouts.
For the glaze decoration, I try to simplify it to save time and to make it almost effortless.
For that you just need to combine icing sugar (powdered sugar) with lemon juice. You can use milk too or rose water, whichever you prefer.
For gingerbread man, just decorate them with a face and "clothes". You are free to do what you please with your other cookie shapes.
Lay out a tin box with parchment paper and place your baked, cooled and decorated cookies into your box over each other.
Keep another parchment paper over the cookies on top and place apple peel over the parchment paper.
That way your gingerbread cookies will remain soft when the climate is dry.
Those are good for up to 2 months if stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
If you live in a tropical climate, I recommend you store your cookies in an airtight container and use within 2 weeks.
This shouldn't happen with this mass if you followed the steps and if you weigh your ingredients. But still keep enough distance between the cookies on the baking sheet before baking. The cookies always spread and rise a bit, that's normal when they are baking because there is baking powder in them.
If you roll them out too thin, your cookies will turn out too hard after baking. Also over baking can result in harder cookies.
I used dark molasses because that's what I could get and it's super intense. Pick whichever molasses you prefer if you can choose.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!
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Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
For the dough
For the icing sugar
- 12 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- 1½-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
For the dough
- If you use whole spices, grind them with the help of a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Prep and keep together with your spices.
- In a mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients for the dough, the all purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and spices (ginger, clove, cinnamon, lemon zest).
- Make a well and add the wet ingredients, the yolk, butter and molasses. Crumble the ingredients in.
- Pour in some water, not everything, and combine and form your dough. Add more water step by step until you have created a smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky nor should it be too dry.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and cool for at least 30 mins so that it gets at least hard. That way it will be easier to roll it out.
- Dust the working surface with flour. Cut the dough in two and dust as well.
- Roll out dough to a ⅛ - almost ¼ inch or 3 - 5 mm thickness.
- Preheat oven to 320° Fahrenheit/ 160° Celsius for about 9-11 mins.
- Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep some distance between the cookies.
- Bake at 320° Fahrenheit/ 160° Celsius for about 9-11 mins.
- Allow the cookies to cool.
For the icing sugar deco
- Combine powdered sugar with lemon juice to a smooth icing sugar.
- Pour icing sugar into piping bag with a small nozzle.
- Decorate cookies with the piping bag to your liking.
- Allow the cookies with the icing sugar to dry.
- Place cookies into a tin box lined with parchment paper to store.
- cookie cutters
- baking sheet with parchment paper
- piping bag to decorate with glaze