Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing ~ it’s that time of year and nothing gets me in the mood quicker than baking up a batch of gingerbread cookies!

Did you see my round up of the 30 BEST GINGERBREAD COOKIES the other day?  All I wanted to do after finishing it up was get in the kitchen and bake!  I start off every holiday season with a new copper cookie cutter for my collection. Last year it was a vintage tree shape, and this year’s acquisition is this cute lumbering polar bear.  I love him because he gives me an excuse to make big, fat, two handed cookies!

This year’s cookie cutter comes from The Fussy Pup, I love their sturdy copper cutters, they come in lots of fun shapes, including my polar bear, and all sorts of dog and cat breeds, of course.  One of my favorite gifts to give ‘fur parents’ during the holidays is a batch of cookies (along with the cookie cutter) matched to the recipient’s pet.

*The View from Great Island is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program ~ Your cost is the same, but I earn a small commission from Amazon which helps keep tvfgi in the kitchen!

I’m in love with this easy gingerbread cookie recipe ~ the dough mixes up easily, and most importantly it rolls out effortlessly.  I’m always amazed at how, even after reforming the dough multiple times to cut out my bears, the dough stays supple  ~ I can’t tell my first bear from my last, and that’s pretty amazing.

The dough has just the right amount of spice and molasses to make for a nice dark color and a soft chewy texture.   The spices and molasses are the key to gingerbread, so don’t skimp, and if you’re out of something, get to the store!  (Yes, you really do need the cloves.)

The minute my dry ingredients hit the wet, I was enveloped in the aura of Christmas.  Those scent memories can’t be beat.

Even after chilling overnight the dough was still pliable and rolled out easily.  Have I mentioned that I love it?

I like to cut my cookies on the thick side, at least 1/4 inch, for a couple of reasons  ~ when they have a little heft they’re sturdier and easier to remove from the cookie cutter to the baking sheet without any accidental amputations.  And they cook up firm on the outside but soft and chewy inside.  Yum.

My recipe for royal icing is super easy and straightforward.

  • I use egg white powder (sometimes called meringue powder) which eliminates any worry about raw eggs.  You should be able to find it in your supermarket’s baking aisle.
  • You can adjust the thickness of the icing by adding more powdered sugar or more water as necessary to get it just right.  If the icing dribbles off the cookie, it’s too thin.  If it doesn’t spread out flat and even, it’s too thick.
  • It tastes great as is, but you can add flavoring if you like, vanilla, almond, or peppermint work well.
  • I spoon it into squeeze bottles for easy outlining, but you can use a plastic baggie with a hole snipped in the corner, or just a small spreading knife.

Icing these bears took a little practice, and let’s just say I have endless respect for Martha Stewart and all the other fancy cookie decorators out there, but in the end we had a herd of respectable polar bears without too much struggle…

TIP: It’s very easy to lose the integrity of the cookie shape with the wrong frosting technique.  It helps to outline your cookie just inside the outer edge, so that the shape of the gingerbread is clear.  Otherwise a polar bear can easily morph into an anteater, weasel, or worse, trust me.

And of course you can always eat, or give, these cookies sans decoration, they are delicious as is.

*Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing adapted from Wanna Come With

Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Yield: makes 16-18 large cookies

Ingredients

    dry ingredients
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    wet ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (1 and a half sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsulphured molasses
    royal icing
  • 1/4 cup egg white or meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Whisk dry ingredients to blend.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg and molasses and mix until smooth.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients while mixing on low, and mix until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead the dough a couple of times until it becomes smooth. Divide in two and form into disks. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F
  7. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch. Cut out your cookies and place on a parchment or silpat line baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through if your oven cooks unevenly. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  8. To make the royal icing, put the egg white powder and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until soft peaks form. Then add the sifted sugar gradually and beat until the frosting is spreadable and glossy. If the frosting gets too thick you can add a bit of cream, milk, or water to thin.
  9. Spoon some of the frosting into a squeeze bottle, pastry bag, or baggie if you would like to pipe it around the outline of each cookie. Otherwise you can spread the frosting with a spreading knife. You will have more frosting than you need with this recipe, but if may come in handy if you are decorating with a group. Note: you can make the frosting up to an hour or so ahead, just keep covered with plastic.
  10. Decorate your cookies with sprinkles, etc, while the icing is still wet. It will harden as it dries.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/easy-gingerbread-cookies-with-royal-icing/

Make it your own ~

 

Don’t forget to pin these Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing!

Easy Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing ~ it's that time of year and nothing gets me in the mood quicker than baking up a batch of gingerbread cookies! #gingerbread #cookies #Christmascookies #cutoutcookies #holidaycookies #dessert #foodgift #Christmasdessert #bestgingerbread #easygingerbread #gingerbreadrecipe #easyrecipe #royalicing #easyroyalicing #bestroyalicing

 

39 Comments

  • Reply
    Rose
    December 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVED the idea of polar bear cookies, so I not only had to make this recipe, but had to go buy a bear cookie cutter! I loved working with the dough. It was also the first time I’ve used a flooding type of icing, but once I got it to the right consistency, I only had to practice doing a nice outline job. I think the last 3 cookies were probably the best. ;) I was a bit worried that the icing would be super sweet, but as the cookie itself isn’t overly sweet, it compliments them nicely. I put them up on my blog and you’re credited in the recipe and the content. http://cookingislikelove.com/wp/gingerbread-cookies/

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      You did a fabulous job with them Rose, I’ll share on facebook!

  • Reply
    Mel
    December 11, 2017 at 4:22 am

    They look lovely! I wish you would put weights in – especially for baking – it puts me off a recipe when it doesn’t have weights as I know I’ll probably do the cup measurements of flour wrong and my baking endeavours will disappoint.

  • Reply
    Robyn Gleason
    December 9, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Oh my gosh, Sue, these look so yummy and your bear is fabulous! I’ve never had royal icing and so curious to try it! Your photos make me smile – beautiful!

  • Reply
    Monique
    December 8, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Love the basket /hand etc pics!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Monique!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 7, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    These look so perfective and festive for holiday gifting!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 7, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Gingerbread cookie perfection! Loving the photos :)

  • Reply
    cakespy
    December 7, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Classic and perfect.

  • Reply
    Marina from Denmark
    December 7, 2017 at 1:00 am

    What a lovely cookie cutter and SO big. Perfekt for gingerbread cookies. I love that you give yourself a new coper one every year. I would love to do that, but we don’t have coper cutters in Denmark. However I have inhered my grandmas ordinary ones from the 1920s. I love that my kids are 4 generation cooking with them. I also own a wooden Dutch gingerbread form from around 1600. I don’t use that for cooking….

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

      You are so lucky to have vintage cutters from your grandmother, and I also have a big gingerbread mold, I got it at a thrift store, but I don’t know how to use it ~ help!

  • Reply
    Marina from Denmark
    December 7, 2017 at 1:00 am

    What a lovely cookie cutter and SO big. Perfekt for gingerbread cookies. I love that you give yourself a new coper one every year. I would love to do that, but we don’t have coper cutters in Denmark. However I have inhered my grandmas ordinary ones from the 1920s. I love that my kids are 4 generation cooking with them. I also own a wooden Dutch gingerbread form from around 1600. I don’t use that for cooking….

    • Reply
      Marina from Denmark
      December 7, 2017 at 1:05 am

      Also Sue. In Denmark we make two kinds of gingerbread. One with a dough that have to stand for 4 weeks and are made with lots and lots of honey (theses cakes are called “honey cakes” in Denmark). The other kind is a quick one like these but they are considered kind of a cheat. Do you also make the ones that have to stand longer in the States or is that an European thing?

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 7, 2017 at 9:27 am

        I’ve never heard of the kind of dough you let sit, that sounds interesting…

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    December 6, 2017 at 11:35 am

    How cute and fun!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    December 6, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Beautiful and super fun cookies. The photos are amazing and create the essence of warm, cozy and wintery!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 10:17 am

      Chris that’s the highest praise considering we’re being hit with dry Santa Ana winds and there are wild fires burning all around us…I must be channeling a frosting holiday season ;)

  • Reply
    Rae
    December 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Gingerbread and Christmas go hand in hand, can’t wait to start baking some.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Happy baking Rae!

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 6, 2017 at 9:49 am

    My youngest used to beg for gingerbread men around the holidays—I may need to treat him to a batch of yours when he’s home over winter break. Now if I could just decorate as beautifully as you!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

      I love that, my girls always requested their favorites ~ I think it’s so comforting for them when they’ve been away at school. And Liz, you can do a MUCH better job decorating than me, let’s be real here ;)

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    December 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

    These are so delicious and just like my grandmother used to make. Though she stuck with gingerbread men. How cute are these? And the icing? This is my type of cookie!! I can’t wait to make them!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

      The dough is a dream, and so is the icing… enjoy!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    December 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

    So adorable! You make yours looks so pretty, I’m sure mine wouldn’t!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Haha, I chose not to show you the first few, Karen…;)

  • Reply
    Helene
    December 6, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I have never tasted gingerbread in my life. We are so stuck with our lebkuchen in central Europe that we don’t get to try gingerbread. Yours look tasty so how about I try these out for Christmas. We need to change our cookie selection this year. :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Let me know what you think, Helene. I want to try lebuchen, maybe that’s what I’ll do with next year’s cookie cutter.

  • Reply
    Shelly
    December 6, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Having trouble pinning to pinterest. Might just be my computer. Not sure. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Diane M.
      December 6, 2017 at 11:36 am

      I’m having trouble too.

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

        Oh gosh, I don’t like to hear that, what’s happening when you try to pin?

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 6, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        Actually I just checked and Pinterest is having issues today, maybe you can try again later!

  • Reply
    Britt | Sweet Tea & Thyme
    December 6, 2017 at 8:07 am

    I love the bear shape, it’s so adorable! We make gingerbread every year, and now I might take up your tradition of buying a new copper cookie cutter, too! It’s such a great idea.

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    December 6, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Mmmm, gingerbread! My favorite Christmas cookie when I was a kid. We haven’t made these in YEARS. Been thinking about making some this year, but I suspect they’ll get bumped again. But your awesome cookies are SO tempting, they’re definitely calling to me! :-)

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Thanks John, and I know just what you mean about having to bump things to the next year, I hate it but there are always so many things on my holiday bucket list that never get done…it goes with the territory. Have a great one :)

  • Reply
    Kathi
    December 6, 2017 at 7:26 am

    All your recipes are fabulous! I have cooked up many of them and this cookie recipe is no exception! Love the tradition of buying a new copper cooking cutter every year. Follower and subscriber! xoxoxo!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Thanks so much, Kathi, that means a lot to me :)

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    December 6, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Wow – these are absolutely gorgeous and I’m all about the gingerbread these days! LOVE the icing and decorations. Sharing and pinning :)

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    December 6, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Perfect for gifts ! And, thank you for stable icing recipe !

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 6, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I love this icing, and I really think it tastes great, too, which is such a bonus.

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