A Homemade Holiday: Gingerbread Cookies

I’m just going to start off by stating that technically, these shouldn’t be called gingerbread cookies… there isn’t actually any ginger in them.  BUT, that’s what we call them, and it’s the recipe that my Grandma made at Christmastime for years.  It’s possible they hold a special place in my heart because of the two times I ever baked with my grandma, one of the times was making these cookies.  If you cook them according to the bake time, they are usually light and fluffy, not crunchy and hard, and though I love a traditional gingerbread cookie, I like that these come without the spiciness.

This recipe makes a huge batch of cookies, so this year I decided that I’d make a full batch, but divide the dough… some for cookies, and the rest for making a big ol’ gingerbread house with the kids.  All I’d need to change would be the thickness of the dough as I rolled it out, and the bake time.  Feel free to pair down the recipe to a size suitable for your needs.  We made roughly 3 dozen cookies and a large gingerbread house out of a full batch.  

It’s recommended that you chill the dough before working with it, but it’s not mandatory.  However, chilling the dough will affect how the dough bakes, so bear that in mind.


  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. plain shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. molassas
  • 1 1/2 c. sour cream OR buttermilk
  • l Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 2 tsp. (+) of cinnamon
  • 8 1/2- 10 cups of flour
  1.  Start by mixing all of the ingredients together, except for the flour.  I would not recommend using a hand mixer for mixing the dough unless you are making a smaller batch… we killed a hand mixer motor one year while making a full batch!  My standard Kitchen Aid mixer’s bowl is just large enough to handle this recipe.  You could just as easily mix this in a large mixing bowl and work your flour in with a spoon or your hands as you near the end. (If you want a true gingerbread cookie, you’ll want to add in some ginger now… I’d say 1-2 tsp?)
  2. Slowly add the flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Do NOT use all 10 cups in the cookies… some of that is for rolling out your dough.  I put in between 8-9 cups of flour.  Chill the dough (if you don’t chill it, it will be stickier and require more flour which will make a cruchier cookie).  Chilling the dough also helps to prevent the dough from spreading a lot.
  3. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface, working one chunk of dough at a time.  Flour your cookie cutters, and cut out your shapes.
  4. Place on greased cookie sheets (don’t grease non-stick pans), or on a parchment lined sheet.  I find the parchment easier to work with and it helps prevent breakage when you remove cookies from the sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.  Cookies are done when the cookie is gently poked with finger and the cookie bounces back.  Store in an air-tight container, on the counter or in the freezer.

You can ice or frost these cookies as well.  I can’t find the recipe my grandma used for her icing, but it was some type of royal icing.  We’ve done icing and we’ve done frosting.  Sometimes we leave them plain, sometimes we decorate them.  Whatever we’re in the mood for.  🙂 

Here’s the gingerbread house we ended up making!  I made my “cement” too runny, so it didn’t harden very fast, and I ended up hot gluing the house together, and reinforcing it with the icing.  

Will you be making gingerbread this year?  Do you keep the baked goods you make for your own celebrations, or do you give them away as gifts?


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