Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Decorating with royal icing is time-consuming but not difficult. Over the holidays especially, I love to dedicate one or two days to cookie decorating. During such a busy time of year, it’s remarkably relaxing to throw on a Christmas movie and spend a few hours piping tiny scarves onto a gingerbread teddy bear family. Depending on how much you use, the icing should last even if you double the cookie recipe. 


Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Icing

Makes about 24 three-inch cookies


  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup molasses

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger

  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/2 tsp fine salt

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Lemon Icing:

  • 5 Tbsp meringue powder*

  • 2/3 c fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)

  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

  • 2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted

  • Food coloring gel

  • Extra lemon juice


Cookie Directions:

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and all spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the brown sugar and molasses, then the vanilla and egg until combined. While still beating on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours. 

Heat oven to 350F. Prep two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a clean surface, sprinkle powdered sugar and begin rolling out one of your dough discs. Use powdered sugar as needed to keep dough from sticking. Roll to ¼-inch thick and use cookie cutters to create shapes. Place shapes on baking sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes. Continue until you’ve used all your dough. Keep dough not being used in the fridge. Let cookies cool completely.

Lemon Icing:

Combine lemon juice and meringue powder in a clean stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium to combine, then add cream of tartar. Add powdered sugar and beat on low for 10 min, scraping bowl sides when needed. This is the consistency you want: when you run a spatula through it, the icing smooths out in 10 seconds (less is too thin, more is too thick). If too thick, add lemon juice a little at a time. Be patient so you don’t overdo it. Once you reach the right consistency, separate icing into different bowls to add food coloring. Cover all icing with a damp towel to keep it from crusting over. Fill pastry bags fitted with tips to decorate. For basic flooding, I use a #2 or #3 tip, and for details a #1. For extra tiny details I’ll use toothpicks. I also like to fill tall glasses with 1cm of water. I place filled icing bags into those glasses when they’re not in use to keep the icing inside from crusting over. Wipe off water before reusing. 

*I find meringue powder in the baking sections of craft stores and supermarkets, or online.

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