These soft and chewy gingerbread cookies have taken the spot as my top holiday cookie!
I love gingerbread, so much so I love it all year round. I order gingersnaps and ginger cookies and all the ginger things even when it’s not the holiday season. The warm and soothing mix of ginger and cinnamon gets me every time, every season, but especially during the holidays.
The smell of gingerbread when it’s cold outside and warm inside is so incredibly cozy. It’s an instant serotonin boost, right when you need it the most. What I love most about gingerbread is that it’s an umbrella term for ALL the delicious things flavored with ginger and cinnamon. It can be soft and cakey like this gingerbread loaf to crisp and waiting for icing like these cut outs to soft and chewy like these gingerbread cookies.
These gingerbread cookies
This gingerbread cookie recipe comes to us via NY Times and Sohla El-Waylly. When I saw the picture of them, it was a must bake. NY Times does a Christmas cookie round up every year and every year I tell myself I’m going to make something and this is the year I actually did it! These cookies did not disappoint. Packed with ginger and a hint of black pepper, these cookies pack a punch with the spice and have a fudgy chewy center and crisp edges. If you love gingerbread that tastes like ginger, thick and chewy cookies with crisp edges and soft middles, these are the ginger cookies for you!
How to make soft and chewy gingerbread cookies
- Brown the butter: add the butter to a saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring until brown and toasty.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in freshly grated ginger, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, freshly grated black pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Let cool in the fridge for 20 minutes, until slightly solid but still creamy.
- Add icing sugar, molasses, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to the cooled butter and mix until creamy and combined.
- Whip in the egg until pale and fluffy.
- Mix in the flour until evenly combined, then chill for at least 2 hours.
- In a small bowl, stir together sugar and ground ginger. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop the dough into balls (about 2 tbsp each) and roll them in the ginger sugar then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
- butter – in this recipe, you brown the butter until nutty and fragrant, then cool it so it you can cream it with the sugar. Browning butter adds so much flavor to baked goods for just a tiny bit of extra effort.
- freshly grated ginger – there are 3 whole tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in these cookies! They are definitely for ginger heads. The fresh ginger, along with the ground, adds a warm, pleasing, spicy punch.
- spices – here we have the usual suspects: ground ginger, ground cinnamon, nutmeg (freshly ground is best but if you only have ground, that works too!), and freshly ground black pepper.
- sugar – I’ve never used icing/confectioners’ sugar in ginger cookies before and I was pleasantly surprised and how it creamed and how chewy and fudgy the cookies came out. There’s also a bit of regular granulated sugar in the ingredients used for coating to give the cookies a bit of sparkle.
- unsulphured molasses – also known as fancy molasses or light molasses, this is the sweetest and lightest of all the molasses used for cooking and baking. It’s what most people use for gingersnaps, gingerbread, ginger cookies, and ginger cakes.
- vanilla – a tablespoon of vanilla to highlight all those warming spices and add a hint of creaminess.
- egg – don’t forget to let your egg come to room temp, you’ll get much better cookie and the egg will mix more evenly into the batter.
- flour – regular all purpose flour, nothing much to say here!
- There’s a whole teaspoon of black pepper so if you’re not a huge fan of it, dial it back to 1/2 teaspoon. Some of the reviews online said it was too much pepper for their palate.
- There’s also a fair bit of salt in this recipe, 1 and a quarter teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. I dialed it back a bit because as much as I love sweet and salty, that just felt like a bit much. I used a slightly heaping 1/2 tsp of sea salt, not kosher.
- This is a baking soda cookie, meaning that it will give you a thick, chewy cookie.
I made a batch of these the other day intending to gift them to friends but then Mike and I ate a bunch of them while watching the snow. I’m not mad about it because they were a pleasure to make and I just love baking during the holiday season. I hope you give these soft and chewy gingerbread cookies a try!
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
These soft and chewy gingerbread cookies are the best holiday cookie ever.
Serves 24 cookies
- 14 tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces (200g)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (240g)
- 3 tsp molasses unsulphured/fancy/light (60g)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt Diamond Crystal preferred
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250g)
- 3 tbsp fresh ginger finely grated (50g)
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg freshly grated
- 1/4 cup sugar 50g
- 2 tsp ground ginger
In a medium saucepan over medium, melt butter until foamy, about 3 minutes. Continue cooking butter, stirring and scraping frequently with a stiff silicone spatula, until the sputtering has subsided and the butter solids look deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, then whisk in the fresh ginger and spices. Scrape the butter and any brown bits at the bottom into the bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Set aside until cool, slightly solid, but still creamy, about 20 minutes in the refrigerator or 2 hours at room temperature. Add confectioners’ sugar, molasses, vanilla, salt and baking soda to the cooled butter. Mix on low with the paddle attachment, stopping once to scrape the bowl and paddle, until creamy and combined, about 1 minute.
Add the egg and mix on medium until pale and fluffy, stopping once to scrape the bowl and paddle, about 2 minutes. Add flour and mix until evenly combined, about 30 seconds. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days before baking.
Prepare the sugar coating: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and ground ginger. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper, arrange the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a #40 cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon portions (30 grams). Roll the portioned cookie dough into balls and coat in the ginger sugar.
Arrange on the sheet tray at least 1 inch apart and bake until set and lightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Amount Per Serving (1 cookie)
Calories from Fat 62
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 4.9g31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.