Whether or not you like the taste of Gingerbread cookies, we know you make them year after year, because they’re fun to make and they’re just so cute! And why not change it up and this year, be like the Great British Bake Off and create a Gingerbread palace or house your whole family will enjoy creating!
Last year, my sisters and I tried to build a replica of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, we failed spectacularly, with the spires falling apart and crashing to the floor, but we learned some valuable lessons from the attempt, and we have some tips to make a gingerbread house that not only stands, but will conquer the test of time (at least until you throw it out).
Butter woes in the Building of your Castle
One of the things we’ve learned is that shortcuts don’t work. There IS a difference between melted butter and softened butter. I definitely thought that they would be the same, but melted butter makes the cookies a bit denser and the construction a bit unwieldy, whereas creaming the butter and the sugar makes for lighter and fluffier cookies.
I’m a very impatient person so I try to make sure that I combine the two methods of butter, I leave the butter out on the kitchen counter when I remember to, but often when you want to bake, you want to bake right then and there! So I put my butter in the microwave for 15-second stints, when it’s softened enough then I add it to my mixer.
Change up the spices so you love your cookies!
Too much nutmeg? Too much cinnamon? You can decide how much you want in your cookies! Your recipe may call for more or less, but you can eyeball it and decide fro yourself. The only thing I think they really need are the ginger, for that gingerbread taste.
Molasses is actually a game changer!
Molasses isn’t something we normally keep in the pantry anymore, back in the day, molasses was used as a sweetner in a number of different recipes, but now, it’s mostly used for this one recipe. There are a number of different Molasses brands you can choose from. I’ve tried Grandma’s Molasses and also Wholesome, and they’ve both been very successful! I would recommend both. They help your gingerbread achieve that darker coloring.
Do not skip the Fridge Time!
I always want to skip the time for the dough in the refrigerator, but DON’T do it! I’m so impatient and I just want to make my gingerbread men, but if you don’t chill your dough, your cookies loose their shape in the oven. You want to wait about four hours.
The cookies are the perfect gift!
Give them to friends or neighbors, or even send them in the mail. They will be stay good for about a week, so they’re the perfect cookies to send off to all your distant relatives during social distancing.
And if you make this recipe, we would love to hear about it! Be sure to comment below!
Recipe for Gingerbread Cookies and a Castle
- 2 Sticks of butter
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and molasses until creamed together. Use a mixer to achieve the perfect fluffiness.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
- In a different bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Then add this flour mix to the butter mixture, slowly with your mixer.
- Divide the dough in half and create two discs. Wrap with plastic and chill for four hours in the fridge.
- Wait for what seems like forever to take the dough out of the fridge
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Rollout the dough on a floured surface and roll until it’s about ¼ an inch thick.
- Cut out your plans for your castle or your gingerbread people
- Bake for 10 minutes and cool on wire rack.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough
- Decorate how you like!