How to Make Gingerbread Christmas Cookies with Homemade Royal Icing
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One of the best parts of the holidays is the many different sweets that I get to make for photoshoots and the family. One of the most popular holiday sweets is the gingerbread cookie, which I made for this photoshoot. This recipe is short and simple, and the royal icing is sweet and easy to decorate with, which is one of the most important parts of the gingerbread cookie- the decorations. Both adults and kids love to decorate cookies, so this recipe is perfect for an all-day family gathering.
If you’re preparing cookies ahead of time, they are perfect for freezing anytime. The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, wrapped in saran wrap and tin foil. Likewise, the baked cookies will stay fresh and chewy for 3 months in the freezer, decorated or not. When preparing the dough, I found that this dough is extremely thick and hard to work with, even with a stand mixer. Because of this, I would recommend working with only a single batch at a time and not doubling portions, since you might risk damaging your stand mixer. Since I’m at a much higher altitude, I prefer to bake the gingerbread cookies for 9 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the cookies, since they will be much harder and tougher than they are supposed to be.
These gingerbread cookies are much softer than most, as some dislike how hard gingerbread cookies are. To ensure this, I always like to stay on the shorter times when baking these cookies, so they aren’t overcooked and hard. After decorating with royal icing, these cookies are perfect to put out for Santa for the kids or to send to friends and family through the mail. My family has a 15-year tradition to bake and decorate gingerbread cookies, which often leaves our kitchen table completely full of decorated cookies.
Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or by hand), beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium-high, until light and fluffy.et aside.
- Add in the eggs, molasses, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.
- Reduce the mix speed to low, and slowly add in the dry ingredient mixture until just combined.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts, and shape them into balls. Flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick circle, and tightly wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill each dough disk in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and preheat the oven to 350F.
- Unwrap the dough, and on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out evenly until it’s ⅛ of an inch thick. Cut out the desired shapes with cookie cutters, and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
- Before baking, place the baking sheet of cookie cutouts in the fridge and let chill for 5-10 minutes. This is so the cookies will keep their form and not spread out while baking.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
- Royal icing. In a large bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder.
- Add warm water, one spoon at a time, while mixing on low speed.
- Add vanilla extract, and continue mixing until the mixture is shiny.
- Mix at high speed and beat for 5-7 minutes, and add desired colors.
- Transfer to piping bag.