Soft and tender, crispy edges, warm spices, just sweet enough – these Gingerbread Cutout Cookies are everything a FAVORITE Christmas cookie should be!
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If crispy cookie edges and the softest cookie middle and intense cookie spice sounds good to you, I have a group of cookie guys I need you to meet. #squadgoals
Batch number one of these gingerbread cutout cookies and I was already feeling new favorite cookie status. But with a few tweaks batch number two…WHOA. Imma need a minute. And another cookie. And to share this recipe asap. Oh, and we’ll get to batch number three later.
I debated leaving them just face-less, button-less, squiggles-that-kinda-represent-clothing-less little fellas. The gingerbread itself does not need anything else to be living it’s best cookie life. But that somehow felt un-Christmasy. And that’s the last thing I ever want these cookies to be accused of when they are truly the face (yup, I got gingerbread puns) of Christmas.
So for all my ginger molasess lovers, I have created an irresistible little army of cookie men and I am setting them loose on you. So consider yourself warned. Best defense strategy: sprinkles and/or a glass of milk if things get really serious.
I almost didn’t make these cookies. The thing is there is another gingerbread cutout cookie recipe on the blog from two years ago, and I still love it a whole lot. Same shape. Similar flavors. Much uglier decorations. While I strongly urge you to stay here and now and present with me and these cookies, if you want to step back in time to 2015 you can.
Those cookies are date-sweetened, these cookies are not. Those cookies are a bit bumbly around the edges, these are not. Those cookies require dough chilling, these do not. Those cookies are good, these cookies are GOOD. I think you get my point – THESE cookies are where you want to be.
I know, I know. Words are semi-convincing, but mouthfuls of cookie are oodles more convincing. So whatcha gonna need to get these cookies in your hands?..
Coconut sugar + molasses. This sweetening combo is intense in a very good way. It isn’t gingerbread without the deep sweetness of molasses, I used blackstrap but not-blackstrap is fine too. Coconut sugar is there for the more mild sweetening and is what creates the crisp cookie edges (better than maple syrup in my experience). I did test a batch with organic cane sugar instead of coconut sugar, and the texture was almost identical but the taste wasn’t as rich.
If you are currently trying to plot how to sneakily swap the granulated sugar out for dates, this recipe is probably better suited for you.
Almond butter. This is key for a cutout dough that is easy to roll (no chilling!) and still really moist after baking. Not too much, just a quarter cup. You could try subbing applesauce, but I haven’t tested it. If you do, you may need additional flour and the cookies will not be as deliciously buttery post-baking.
Lemon juice. Highly underrated in gingerbread, but it makes a huge difference on flavor. There is no better bright balance to all those spices and deep flavors. I tested with apple cider vinegar instead – nope, not even close.
So I type this with my most serious face on: DO NOT SKIP IT.
Spices. Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Yep, that list got longer since last we gingerbread-ed. That’s because Brandi from The Vegan 8 posted her gingerbread spice mix that contains FIVE different spices. Did you know gingerbread was supposed to be made with so many? I did not, but if anyone knows about these things it’s Brandi. My minimally stocked spice cabinet didn’t allow for the full array (yet), but she said the cloves was crucial so I added it. And I really can taste a difference! If you are thoroughly stocked with all the spices and want max flavor, use her mix.
Almond flour or oat flour. Almond flour lovers. Nut-free friends. Oat flour fans. My paleo peeps. These cookies are for everyone. Half almond, half oat? Haven’t tried it, but if you want to go there be my guest.
That batch number three I mentioned was the oat trial, and it kinda blew me away to be honest. Usually I have a personal favorite between the two flour variations, but not this time. They are equally delicious. The almond is more fluffy and soft, the oat a bit crispier. The oat flour dough is somewhat trickier to work since there is less flour (to avoid an overly dry cookie), so consider chilling the dough before rolling or at least flour your surface very well.
Just baked these cookies are something else. And by just I mean like two minutes out of the oven when the risk of burning your fingers is still very real but it’s worth it for that very-warm-bordering-on-hot ultra soft cookie experience. So while I don’t really feel okay recommending impatience, but I did test impatience and it was glorious. Just sayin. But even after they have cooled enough for risk-free pan removal and/or frosting, the first day texture is hard to beat. Not that I am not enjoying the hell out of the leftovers three days later.
I called them gingerbread cutout cookies because they don’t have to be men. They taste mega yum as circles or snowflakes or giraffes or anything else too. What I’m saying is do not let the lack of a human(ish)-shaped cookie cutter stop you. Or go on a quadruple store adventure all over town to hunt one down like I did, that’s always a fun time.
I’m going to go ahead and say it, these are my favorite gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had. And that’s coming from someone who used to construct houses out of gingerbread every year. And not the healthy-ish stuff either, the real deal butter/eggs/sugar stuff. But these are better. Or my memory is bad. No these are better. Yep, for sure.
Puffy in the right places, crispy where it counts, intensely spicy and sweet but not too sweet. Just everything a favorite Christmas cookie should be!
WATCH HOW TO
Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
Soft and tender, crispy edges, warm spices, just enough sweetness – these Gingerbread Cutout Cookies are everything a FAVORITE Christmas cookie should be!
- 1/2 cup (80g) coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup (65g) almond butter (or any nut/seed butter)
- 1/4 cup (80g) molasses
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsps ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups (220g) almond flour OR 1 3/4 cups (195g) oat flour
- Optional: coconut butter for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the coconut sugar, almond butter, molasses, and lemon juice. Whisk until combined.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix/knead to form a ball of dough.
Place a piece of wax paper on your work surface and cover with a light dusting of flour.
Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. (If you don't have a rolling pin, a glass bottle works too!)
Cutout your cookies into any shape you like. (If you don't have a cookie cutter, use a jar or jar lid!)
Use a spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Once the pan is full (I got six per pan), bake for 10 minutes at 350F or until golden around the edges.
While those are baking, re-roll the dough and cut out as many cookies as you can fit. I got 12 total with two rounds of rolling.
Once all the cookies are done baking, allow them to cool completely (or even chill) before decorating. I used barely warm coconut butter in a squeeze bottle or ziplock bag. Chill until frosting is set.
Enjoy! You can keep them in the fridge for up to a week (frosted or unfrosted), but they are yummiest when fresh.
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