Halloween & Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

My mom makes the best gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread cookies are often too hard or crunchy, but hers are soft and chewy. I used her recipe, but swapped out the margarine for butter. The key to this recipe is to make the dough in advance and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours (I refrigerated my dough overnight). It is necessary to refrigerate it for several reasons: To allow the gluten to rest to prevent a "gluey" texture, to allow the butter to firm up in the dough (this recipe has no eggs to hold it together), and to prevent the dough from spreading too much in the oven (which maintains the cookie cutter shape).

You can find some inexpensive holiday themed cookie cutters at a dollar store, but I purchased these ones (which also included medium sized bats) at Ma Cuisine in the Byward Market. They have magnets to store the ghost and bat inside the pumpkin and the imprint for the faces on the top of the cookie cutter for easy decorating. They have some other awesome ones at this store as well:

I used Alton Brown's royal icing recipe to make the icing for the Christmas cookies. The elf shoes were from Bulk Barn.

Note:  My mom's recipe says to bake these at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes, but my oven runs hot, so I usually have to adjust the temperature when I bake. I baked mine at 350°F for 8 minutes for the tray of the small ghosts and medium bats, and 12 minutes for the large pumpkins. The recipe made three baking sheets worth of cookies in various sizes, so the yield is a little hard to determine, but it was around thirty.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp all spice

Optional decorations before baking:  Dark chocolate chips or peanut butter chip
Optional decorations after baking:  Royal icing for piping, Smarties, Reese's Pieces


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in molasses and maple syrup.

In a second bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients and water to creamed mixture. Knead well until blended and form into a smooth ball. Cover and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F (see note above). Lightly flour work surface, rolling pin and hands. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Press chocolate chips or peanut butter chips in place for eyes.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool fully, then decorate with icing (optional).

Nutrition (based on the medium cookie, the bat)

Calories 93
Fat 3.2g
Saturated fat 2.0g
Carbohydrates 15.1g
Sugars 6.5g
Protein 1.1g
Previous Post Next Post