American

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

November 24, 2021
4
20 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food stylist: Kate Buckens. Prop stylist: Suzie Myers.
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • makes about 3 pounds (1.37 kg) dough and about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
Author Notes

I love to make festive decorated cutout cookies around the holidays, I prefer a softer, chewier cookie to the ones that are quite crisp. Enter: these ultra chewy gingerbread cookies. They use the reverse creaming method, which ensures a smoother mix with this ratio (which is high in molasses). They require a little extra chilling to ease the handling, but you reap the chewy rewards after baking—and they stay chewy for days and days. I hereby deem them worth it in every way. These are the gingerbread cookie you’ll find me slipping into cookie boxes each holiday season—and just about everyone who tries one asks for the recipe! —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Watch This Recipe
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Ingredients
  • 4 1/4 cups (510 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (<1 gram) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1 tablespoon (15 gram) portions
  • 1 large (56 grams) egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (340 grams) molasses (not blackstrap)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, pepper, and nutmeg on low speed to combine.
  2. Add the butter to the mixer and mix on medium speed until the mixture is uniformly combined—it should look like the consistency of cornmeal. Add the egg and molasses and mix on low speed until an even dough forms, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into 2 even disks, about 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature for 10 minutes.
  4. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper, and have a few extra sheets of parchment paper ready. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to ¼ in/6 mm thick. Peel the parchment away occasionally while you work to make sure it’s not sticking to the dough (you can use a little flour, but only if needed).
  5. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the chilled dough. Gently remove the excess dough, and press it back together. Transfer the cut shapes to the prepared baking sheets—the cookies can be fairly close (within about ½ in/1 cm), they won’t spread much. Stagger the rows of cookies to help fit as many cookies onto the baking sheet as possible (you may require more trays if you’re using lots of different shapes).
  6. Press all the scrap dough into a 1 in/2.5 cm disk, and re-roll, chill, and cut as directed above.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C with the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  8. Bake the trays of cookies in batches. While the cookies do not need to be chilled before baking, chilling them can help achieve more defined shapes, which can be helpful with more complex shapes. If you’re doing a simple shape—or like a softer/rounded/less defined look—chilling isn’t necessary. Bake until the cookies brown lightly around the edges and appear set, 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Cookies will be fragile when they first come out of the oven, so cool them on the baking sheets for a few minutes (3 to 5), then use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • h.wong
    h.wong
  • Violet Brown
    Violet Brown
  • JackofAllTrades
    JackofAllTrades
  • CMac
    CMac
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, came out on November 10th, 2020, and my pie merch collaboration with Food52 is out now too: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/manifest-food52/food52-x-erin-mcdowell

22 Reviews

CMac January 7, 2022
Made them for Christmas after watching the video 50 times!!! Came out great. Grandkids were able to cut out the cookies with no issues and using the parchment paper was genus.
 
h.wong December 28, 2021
I followed the video and found the dough impossibly sticky even with rolling between parchment. Sticks even worse to silpat so avoid that as well! The best results for me was rolling the dough in portions between plastic wrap, cutting shapes with cutters, chilling the whole sheet of dough on a sheet tray in the freezer, then transferring the cut outs to a baking sheet to bake. If you want your cookies to spread less in the oven, definitely chill the dough prior to baking. I didn't mind the spreading as it meant more surface area to apply icing! These cookies are addictingly chewy and not overly sweet. Thank you Erin for a fantastic recipe as always!
 
Jgilson01 December 26, 2021
Made these according to the recipe and video. They came out great!
 
Susan N. December 24, 2021
Ok, SO, I decided to give these another try. The weight measurement if definitely a little off for the molasses. Use a cup measure. I got about 320-ish grams when I weighed it in a cup. I erred on a tiny bit less since I thought the molasses flavor was really strong and the dough was so sticky. Rolled and cut out first batch. They puffed hugely. WTH?!? More frustration ensued. Next batch, I rolled a LOT thinner. BINGO. My cutouts baked much more cleanly and didn’t puff so much. This batch came out MUCH better. So, be careful with the liquid measure and actually pay attention to the thickness of the dough. It says 1/4” but I think it could even be slightly less. I’m still not sure if I would make these again. The flavor was much better and they were soft and chewy but I’m still on the fence about them. Didn’t love them enough to go through this much work. Oh, and I still have to ice/decorate them tomorrow. 🙄
 
manta December 24, 2021
This was a frustration fest for me. I admit I'm at a higher altitude, but I tried really hard to follow instructions to a T. I weighed my ingredients and everything. But the stickiness of this is just sooo frustrating. And worst of all, my cookies spread HUGELY. I took a picture of my "gingerbread men" (now they're just blobs) next to the cookie cutter and had to laugh. Plus...they're kinda crispy??? If I just end up with crispy cookies, why did I suffer so much through the world's stickiest dough? :(

They taste really nice though.
 
avidbaker December 23, 2021
Even with only 3/4 of the sugar called for, it was a little too sweet for me, but I loved that it's chewy!! For some reason, my batter turned out much darker than the video and pictures, but still delicious!!
 
Sonia December 19, 2021
I was so looking forward to making these. The dough smells lovely but there is just too much molasses and the dough is not usable. Too sticky. Can’t lift from parchment to bake. Tried to chill more but this didn’t help. This is just too sticky and unmanageable. Disappointing, as I have wasted the ingredients. I might try scooping and just seeing if they will work as drop cookies, flatten to circles. Not going to try this one again.
 
Violet B. December 19, 2021
These cookies are perfection and I’m super picky with gingerbread! I used my scale for each ingredient and agree that the molasses is best measured in a dry cup. My first batch was a bust because the molasses didn’t say Blackstrap on the front, but in the tiny print on the back confirmed why the cookies tasted like a kick in the teeth and were too dark to really tell when they were cooked. Once I got the right kind… they were delicious and super easy!!
 
zhadye December 19, 2021
This recipe translated extremely well to Gluten Free Cookies using King Arthur's Gluten Free Flour!!! This is now going to be a new family Christmas tradition! Thank-you! ❤
 
zhadye December 19, 2021
PS. I added cardamon.
 
Janie December 16, 2021
No problems with this recipe. I used a couple of Tablespoons less molasses than called for as I didn't have enough on hand. The dough was easy to work with and tastes great.
 
Nic December 15, 2021
The dough was incredibly wet and sticky, and the cookies spread a lot but held their shape perfectly. They were soft and chewy and absolutely the most delicious, most professional cookies I have ever made.
 
Susan N. December 14, 2021
I was really excited about this recipe. Made the dough and ended up chilling it in the fridge for three days. I just didn’t have time to get back to it. Cut out cookies and they puffed up a lot and touched each other. So, the shape was ruined since I had to cut them apart. Also, they were so soft! Too soft. They didn’t hold together when I held them in my hands. Baked for 9 minutes with a little browning around the edges. Not sure what I did wrong?! Disappointed my daughter who wanted to ice and decorate these.
 
Susan N. December 14, 2021
Reading over the comments, I think there is a typo with the molasses or maybe other ingredients? I use weight measures and did so for the molasses. Erin, I hope you’re reading these comments and fix the recipe!
 
Mel E. December 12, 2021
These are super tasty and spicy and chewy as promised. I used 1c (dry measure) of molasses (for reviewers confused about the weight). I was prepared for the dough betting sticky, even after chilling for over an hour because I watched the video. She used a lot of flour to roll out! Can't wait to ice them if we can resist eating them all!
 
Tonylope December 11, 2021
I think there is a typo in the gram measurements for the molasses. 1 cup is 240ml, which shouldn’t weight 340g. Having used the incorrect measurement, the shapes were essentially impossible to remove cleanly after being cut out. The cookies also didn’t retain their shape very well, becoming quite round and undefined. The flavour was still nice though, but strong on the molasses.
 
Whatawaste December 11, 2021
What a waste of 4 cups of flour and a bunch of spices. I’m livid. By far the worst textured cookies I HAVE EVER MADE!!
DO NOT USE THIS RECIPE
 
sdeeyen December 9, 2021
Do you pack the brown sugar?
 
rkucharski December 8, 2021
Is there an icing recipe that pairs well with these?
 
Curious B. December 1, 2021
I followed the recipe exactly for the Chewy Gingerbread Cookies. I placed them on cookie sheet and when they were done they grew together. Then I baked some far apart on the cookie sheet and they were giant but not hooked together. I chilled the cut outs on the cookie sheet for 30 minutes before baking. The flavor is spot on…and while they are giant gingerbread cookies…they are bit too big. Not sure why the dough spread so much?
 
JackofAllTrades December 13, 2021
I had the exact same experience. Loved the flavor and texture, but nothing I tried (I baked them three separate trays) made them spread less.
 
VeganBaker November 27, 2021
I veganized these! And they're great!

I did a 1:1 substitution of the following ingredients:
- 1 flax egg for the 1 chicken egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds/flax meal + 3 tbsp water, let sit 10 minutes once combined)
- Earth Balance vegan spread instead of butter. I used the spread in the tub, but it would probably have worked exactly the same (or better) with the sticks.

My batter looked a little more liquidy (probably due to higher water content in the tub Earth Balance vs sticks) than Erin's (in the video), so I added a sprinkle more flour (~1/4 cup) before I refrigerated the dough.

I followed the method exactly.

I made a "royal" icing with icing sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract thinned to a pipeable consistency and iced with that.

Yay, thank you for this great recipe! It's a keeper.