Simple Gingerbread Cookie Overview
These cookies are a bit different from traditional gingerbread cookies in that their flavor is a little more mild than most gingerbread due to being made without molasses. I would say that these are sort of a gingerbread sugar cookie hybrid. Which, honestly, is totally delicious!
I wanted to make a recipe with fewer ingredients than most gingerbread cookies. I also wanted a gingerbread cookie that required no chilling and didn’t call for molasses. I know a lot of people don’t typically keep it on hand.
I used dark brown sugar in these cookies because brown sugar already has molasses in it. This way you still get a hint of that molasses flavor without having to buy a whole bottle if you don’t have it. If you only have light brown sugar on hand, you can still use it in these cookies but just be aware that they will be even more mild in flavor.
What Makes These Gingerbread Cookies So Quick and Easy:
- You don’t have to wait for your ingredients to come to room temperature! I know this is typically cookie blasphemy, but starting with cold ingredients for this recipe actually helps with the texture of the dough so you can roll it out immediately.
- Fewer ingredients! Most gingerbread cookies have a really long list of ingredients but this recipe keeps the ingredients simplified so you can get your cookie fix on quickly.
- No added molasses! This gingerbread cookie relies on the molasses that is already in brown sugar for the chew and flavor.
- You can roll out the dough immediately! Because of the ratios in this dough and the fact that we are starting with cold butter, you can roll out and bake these gingerbread cookies without chilling the dough!
Other Reasons Why These Gingerbread Cookies Are So Good:
- You can make them soft or crispy! I like my gingerbread cookies more on the soft side so I tend to roll them out a little thicker and bake them for a short amount of time. But if you like them crispy then you can roll them thinner and bake them a little longer.
- They hold their shape well! Because this gingerbread cookie recipe does not use baking soda or baking powder they do not puff up. They also do not spread out because of the ratios of the other ingredients in the recipe. They hold their shape well and keep sharp edges. Perfect for decorating!
- They are super kid friendly! I know many children that don’t love the flavor of gingerbread, and this cookie is perfect because it is slightly more mild in flavor, while still tasting of classic gingerbread. And because they are so quick and easy to make, impatient kids won’t get bored with the process!
- You don’t have to plan ahead! This cookie recipe is perfect for the last minute cookie need when you didn’t have time to plan ahead for your ingredients to come to room temperature or account for dough chilling time.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies without Molasses
Step 1: Mix Cold Butter with Brown Sugar
Most cookie recipes call for room temperature butter. But we are going to use cold butter in this recipe. This will serve two purposes: It will keep the dough cold enough so it doesn’t need to be chilled. It will also prevent the cookies from spreading because you won’t be able to work air into it by creaming it.
Cut the butter into really small pieces and mix it with the brown sugar. Preferably use dark brown sugar for the most flavor. You want to mix until the two are well combined, but we won’t be mixing until creamed.
Step 2: Mix in Eggs and Spices
Next, mix in the egg and all the spices. In this cookie we’re using a lineup of ginger and cinnamon. I also add clove and allspice. These two are optional, but if you have them on hand it will increase the flavor of the cookies!
Step 3: Mix in the Flour
And lastly we can mix in the flour. The dough is going to be very thick. Mix until the flour is just incorporated and absorbed. You don’t want to over-mix or your cookies will become dry and tough.
Step 4: Roll out the Dough
Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Press the dough together until a cohesive dough forms. Flour the top of the dough and add a piece of parchment paper on top of it.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper. This will help the dough be rolled out without sticking and without needing to chill.
Step 5: Cut out and Bake
Use a floured cookie cutter to stamp out your cookies and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until fully set. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
These gingerbread cookies do not spread at all. They hold their shape really well and I love how simple they are to make. The no-chill dough makes these perfect to make with kids because they are so quick to make!
If you are like me and aren’t great at decorating cookies, you can press some sprinkles into the cookies right when they come out of the oven. This is what I did in the pictures above!
- 2 sticks (1cup, 8 oz, 224 gr) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes (important that the butter is cold so the dough doesn't need to be chilled)
- 2 1/2 cups (20 oz, 560 gr) lightly packed dark brown sugar (you can also use light brown sugar for a more mild flavor)
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 TBSP ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground clove (optional, but recommended)
- 1/2 tsp allspice (optional, but recommended)
- 4 cups (17 oz, 476 gr) all-purpose flour (measured properly)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F (170 C). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- Put the cold cubed butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Mix the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until well combined. It won't really be creamed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the egg, salt, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and allspice (if using) to the bowl. Mix for 1 minute more on medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again.
- With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour into the bowl. Mix just until combined. This will be a very thick dough, and you may need to knead it gently with your hands until it comes together.
- Gather the dough together into a ball and divide it in half. Lightly flour a clean work surface and start with half of the dough. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin. Roll out to about 1/4"-1/3" thick. Thicker will produce softer cookies and thinner will produce crispier cookies. Alternatively, you can roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper.
- Cut out your cookies and place them on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 F (170 C) for 9-12 minutes. I like my cookies cut out 1/3" thick and baked for about 10 minutes. This produces cookies with slightly crispy edges and soft centers. Longer baking times will produce crispier cookies.
- If you are decorating the cookies with candies and sprinkles, as I did in the pictures, press them into the cookies when they are still hot. If you are frosting the cookies, allow them to cool completely first. I like to use this super simple 3 ingredient icing.
- Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.