This recipe is VERY DIFFERENT from our “structural” gingerbread recipe we developed and sell in our shop (read about it HERE). I studied over 6 recipes and and tweaked until I got my desired result: a soft, moist, chewy gingerbread. This recipe is NOT good for building structures (unless if you overbake them… like a lot…), but it’s delicious and keeps soft so well due to the high moisture content. People who have tasted this described the texture as a mix of a cookie and cake. I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer 1: This dough is pretty sticky. There is a lot of molasses. Trust the process– it might not seem like it’ll bake properly or hold shape, but if you follow our directions, the result will be rewarding! This dough is ALSO best eaten WITH icing as it’s not very sweet! With the right icing, all the flavors will come together. I offer my icing recipe for sale in my shop (read about recipes HERE), but you’re free to use whatever you like. The internet is a goldmine of amazing recipes, you just need to be willing to put in the work.
Disclaimer 2: This post contains affiliate links! If you purchase anything from these links, you are supporting me without spending anything extra. You can also shop my favorites in my Amazon Shop.
OK, no BS, no stories about how I got here, just the recipe & tips/tricks for success.
Before we begin, a few notes:
- All my recipes are by weight (at least for the main ingredients, not for like spices, etc– doesn’t matter as much for those). Weight never changes, but volume (i.e. “cups”), can vary based on how densely packed your ingredients are. A “cup” of flour can fluctuate by 40 grams and that’s a huge difference! Read more HERE about why it’s so important to weigh things.
- A stand mixer is going to be best for this recipe, but a hand mixer will also work in a pinch
- Plastic Wrap– I never roll out my dough with flour and this helps keep the mess down for me
- Rolling Pin — I talk about rolling pins in my Resources blog post
- Scale (see above)
- Oven Thermometer — this is a MUST HAVE piece of equipment for me. Most home ovens run hot or cold and you don’t even know until you use a thermometer. My home oven runs cold from 280-385, and when I turn it to 390, it jumps to 425. I can’t explain it. I own THIS thermometer and it has served me well for over 6 years so far. Please spend the money it’s well worth it.
- Measuring spoons (I’m a sucker for stainless steel)
- Baking Pans: I’m a 100% nordic ware girl. Their pans are great value (price vs quality and durability). They conduct heat well and don’t warp as quickly as other brands (all pans warp with use over time)
- Baking Sheets/Liners: I love my silicon mats, but you are free to use parchment. Parchment conducts heat a bit quicker so I usually bake for a shorter amount of time on parchment. Please do not bake your cookies on wax paper.
- Cookie cutters of your choice, see notes at the bottom about what I specifically used for this set of cookies
RECIPE – Borderlands Bakery Soft, Chewy Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies
yields approx. 2 doz 3-4 inch cookies rolled about approx. 1/4 inch thick
- 8 oz (1 cup or 2 american sticks) of salted butter, at room temp (which is colder than you think, read about it HERE)
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 200 grams unsulphered molasses (WTF is unsulphered molasses? click to read more HERE)
- 2 eggs (room temp.. just let it sit out for an hour, this isn’t as specific as butter temp… it just can’t be cold or else your mixture looks curdled)
- 700 grams all purpose flour (regular wheat flour, I can’t speak to any other flour substitutes..you do it and tell me!)
- 20 grams corn starch (makes the dough smoother and easier to work with)
- 1 tsp baking powder (this. does. not. cause. spread. when using the correct wet-dry ratios. it causes rise.)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar (this will help prevent the sugar from crystallizing causing some crunchiness, especially when baked at a higher temp like this– I want soft chewy cookies)
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (if you’re not sensitive to taste of artificial vanilla, this is a good recipe to use it in, since the spices are pretty strong)
- Cream together: butter, sugar, salt, cream of tartar, all the spices and baking powder, approx 1 minute or less until all ingredients are well combined
- Add in eggs, molasses, vanilla extract beat approx another minute so it’s well incorporated and starting to fluff a bit — when you beat eggs and incorporate air– the volume will increase a bit
- Add in all the flour and corn starch at once and mix on low until well combined– the dough is going to be sticky but as long as it all seems well combined, you’re good to go
- Divide into 3 portions, roll into discs and plastic wrap them well
- Place in fridge overnight before using — to help the flavors develop AND to make it easier to work with! This is NOT absolutely mandatory, but I swear it helps.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees — see my note above about oven thermometers — it’s crucial you get the bake at this temp or else the butter in your cookies will melt before your cookies get a chance to set up, causing spread — IF you feel like your dough has warmed down to room temp already, throw them into the freezer for about 5 minutes before baking
- Roll out your dough between the plastic wrap used to store the discs in– I like to roll at 3/8 inch for minis, and a little thinner for larger cookies (just my preference)
- Cut out your cookies– COLD DOUGH is easiest to work with (again this is a super moist dough so keeping it cold is crucial for easier handling). I don’t use flour to roll out my dough, but if you find your cutter sticking, coat your cutter in a little flour
- Bake for 9-13 minutes (size and oven dependent) until cookies are set, have spread a little, and slightly puffed in the middle, but they will shrink back a bit as they cool. It is REALLY HARD to tell when dark cookies are “done”, so please be ready to experiment with this! A little spreading and puffy is totally normal. Eggs and fat/dry ratio affect spread (as does correct baking temp!!) and this one will have a bit of that, but not much!
- Cool in 2 ways– on the baking sheets (keeps bottoms more moist!! MORE CHEW!!) or on a cooling rack for a more crispy finish
- Decorate cookies as desired when they are completely cool
Cookie shelf life will vary based on how much you bake them and how to store them. If I bake them to a soft bake (moist, chewy, soft), I will decorate, fully dry and heat seal them within 24 hours of them coming out of the oven. These usually remain soft for 2 weeks after heat sealing. They probably freeze well for months. But I hope they don’t last that long!!
- Unless if you’re ready to experiment and play with the ratio of flour, avoid using dark brown or high moisture sugar as substitute, you’ll end up with an even stickier and harder to work with dough
- You are empowered and encouraged to change the ratios of the spices to suit your tastes. Taste can be subjective. Experiment to find what you like.
- If baking cookies of various sizes together, know the hot spots in your oven so you can place them appropriately. My oven is hotter around the perimeter, so I try to place the larger cookies around the edge as they require longer to cook than where there is lower heat.
- IF you want to eat these cookies WITHOUT frosting– I recommend you add about 50 grams more of sugar and 20 grams of flour. I ice these with a standard vanilla icing but you are free to use what you like!
If you want to learn how to decorate these adorable gingerbread houses and candies with me, be sure to sign up for our LIVE decorating class on Dec. 18, 2019! Details HERE (if link is dead, means the event has passed!).
A few notes on this design that may be of interest to some of you:
- The House cookie cutter is from The Sweet Designs Shoppe
- Round Candy cutter is from Sinful Cutters
- Long Candy is from Holly Fox
- You can also use a similar house shape if you’re attending class
- You can also choose to hand cut your dough with a fruit knife or pen blade using free clip art HERE.
- The red bow is made from fondant (you can also use modeling chocolate which is crazy tasty), and the mold is from amazon
- The leaves are piped using my tipless piping bags (you can learn how to cut the tip into leaves in this post with embedded video)
- Sanding sugar and white diamond dust (in a dry dust pump) was used on the roofs to add some sparkle (harder to see in the photograph!)
- Gold stars are from Fancy Sprinkles, you can get them from Michaels most of the time!
- Little gingerbread men door handles can be sprinkles OR in class I show you how to pipe these onto the cookie with icing!
Don’t want to buy all the accessories? Check out the limited edition mini kit we put together HERE
Hope you like this recipe! Leave a comment below if you have any questions or tag me on social media if you end up using this recipe! @borderlandsbakery 🙂
Thanks so much for reading. Be sure to check out our RESOURCES post for my ultimate cookie decorating tool list.