Starry Night Gingerbread Cookies are thick cut out stars topped with royal icing and glittery sprinkles ~ these sparkly cookies will outshine all the others for the holidays!
Gingerbread cookies with royal icing are a yearly tradition
A lot of my holiday traditions revolve around the kitchen, not surprisingly! And one of my favorites is my annual gingerbread cookie bake. Sometimes I have a daughter or two with me, my youngest Molly helped with my polar bears, and Clare was the mastermind behind last year’s pepparkakor reindeer. But sometimes I’m alone, and I keep it going for the sake of tradition. I choose a different cookie shape each year, and this year I chose stars. Gingerbread stars, of different types and sizes, iced with bright white royal icing are the perfect base for a fun collection of metallic sprinkles and make a ‘stellar’ cookie platter.
Classic royal icing is sweet and sturdy, with just 2 ingredients
Royal icing dries famously hard, so these sturdy cookies can be stacked high on a plate, or packaged as gifts without worry. It’s a brilliant white, and has a perfectly flat, matte surface, so it makes the ideal canvas for embellishment of all kinds,
To make royal icing
- Egg whites are whipped with lots of sifted powdered sugar
- The mixture is thinned with water to your desired thickness, depending on whether you want to dip, spread, or pipe your frosting
- You can color it with food coloring or leave it white
- It’s made with raw egg whites, but you can use pasteurized eggs or meringue powder for safety
This gingerbread dough is the best!
- It rolls out easily with minimal sticking
- You can reform the dough without issues
- The cookies hold their crisp shape and puff up just enough
- The flavor is spicy and assertive
- The aroma while these cookies are baking is transcendent!!
How to frost gingerbread cookies the easy way
True gingerbread is so flavorful it really doesn’t need any embellishment, but the frosting and sprinkles make these cookies so festive it’s hard to resist. Frosting cookies can sometimes be tricky, especially when piping bags are involved, but don’t worry, my method is super easy!
- Put your royal icing in a wide shallow bowl. Tap and stir to release any bubbles. The consistency should be thick but pourable, sort of like pancake batter. Royal icing can be thinned with water, and thickened with more (sifted) powdered sugar.
- Dip each cookie face down into the frosting until the whole surface of the cookie makes contact with the frosting.
- Lift straight up and allow the excess to drip down. This might take a few seconds, be patient.
- Flip the cookie over swiftly.
- And set on a rack to dry.
- After a few cookies you’ll have the technique down pat. You need to allow the excess to drip off before flipping for a perfectly iced cookie.
This technique requires thick sturdy cookies so your fingers have something to grab onto while dipping. Cookies dipped this way will be perfectly covered, edge to edge, no piping required.
Metallic sprinkles are perfect for sparkly star cookies
I like to gather an assortment of metallic sprinkles and glitter for super glittery stars. You have all sorts of choices, if you’re a sprinkle collector like me, or you can just buy one or two at the grocery store.
- silver metallic sprinkles
- gold pearls
- metallic dragees
- edible glitter
- gold sugar
- metallic stars
- gold confetti
- edible hologram glitter
- shimmer dust
- snowflake sprinkles
Let the dipped cookies set for a minute or two, and then sprinkle on your decorations while they’re still wet. Let the cookies dry completely before touching or moving them.
More cute cut-out cookies for the holidays ~
- Easy Gingerbread Cookies
- Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies
- Holiday Sugar Cookies
- Speculoos Spice Cookies
- Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread Star Cookies
- stand mixer or electric beaters
- assorted star shaped cookie cutters
- 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 nutmeg
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup meringue powder or egg whites (about 2)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl to combine well.
- Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses and mix until smooth.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients while mixing on low, and mix until the dough comes together.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Let the chilled dough sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch. Note: you want your cookies nice and thick so they will be easy to dip in the frosting later.
- Cut out your cookies and place on a parchment or silpat line baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes. They'll be slightly puffed and firm, with a few tiny cracks. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
- Let them cool completely before frosting.
- Put the meringue powder and warm water into the clean bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use hand held beaters) and beat until foamy. If you are using egg whites, don't add the water yet.
- Slowly beat in the sugar until thick and glossy. Add water as necessary to thin the mixture to the consistency of pancake batter. It should be thick but pourable.
- Pour the icing into a wide shallow bowl and tap the bowl sharply on a hard surface to bring any bubbles to the suface. Stir to remove bubbles.
- Dip each cookie, head first, into the icing, making sure all surfaces make contact. Lift straight up and let the excess frosting drip off. The flip the cookie over and set on a drying rack.
- Add any embellishments while the frosting is wet. Then let the cookies fully harden before moving.
notes and variations
- Just poke a hole in the tip of each cookie before baking. You can use a skewer or even a plastic straw.
- After dipping in royal icing, make sure the hole remains clear.
- When the cookies have fully dried, thread a thin ribbon or twine through each hole and knot to form a loop for hanging.