Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

These soft gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite non-chocolate cookies ever! They are just…perfect. They are the perfect texture (slightly crunchy on the outside, but totally gooey and tender on the inside). They are the perfect flavor (rich and warm, with a little bit of added kick thanks to black pepper). They even look perfect. Like perfect little pillows of sugary deliciousness.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Should gingerbread cookies be hard or soft?

This comes down to gingerbread semantics. In some people’s minds, the word gingerbread means soft and chewy—you know, like bread. But in my opinion, gingerbread is all-encompassing of the flavor, but most frequently refers to the crispy cookies (like gingerbread men or gingerbread houses). If someone says, “here, have a gingerbread cookie” the first thing that pops in my head is a crunchy gingerbread man—which I’ll pass on.

But these tender, soft, chewy gingerbread cookies? These, I’m all over.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

What makes these soft gingerbread cookies so great?

I think what makes these cookies so spectacular is that they are spectacularly simple. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing cookies with sprinkles and candy and add-ins galore, but all these cookies need as far as accoutrements is a quick roll in granulated sugar before baking to give them a sparkly shine that looks a little bit like a frosty snowfall. That’s it. The dough does all the talking.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

In case you were wondering, my tasting group was very pleased with these cookies. So much so, it put an end to the gingerbread definition debate. It was decided that whatever the previous definition of gingerbread was, it should be erased from the books and replaced with a description of these cookies, because this is what gingerbread should be.

Enjoy!

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

The smell of fresh gingerbread baking is unmatched. Make a batch of these soft gingerbread cookies with your family this holiday.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses, egg, and vanilla and mix until well-combined.
  3. Add in the baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and salt, and mix until just combined. Add in the flour and mix until well-combined, scraping the sides as needed.
  4. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. Then roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll each dough ball in granulated sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them 2-inches apart.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the cookies just begin to crack and crinkle, and the edges barely start to brown. Do not overbake or they won't be chewy!
  6. Let cookies cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 18 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 168Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 267mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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77 Comments

  1. I made these exactly as the recipe said and 7-8 minutes just wasn’t enough cook time. More than half of them had to be thrown away 🙁 I’d suggest baking longer.

    1. Sorry about that! Oven baking time is a very inexact science, it’s better to go by looks than time. And next time, you can just pop the cookies back in the oven for a minute or two until they are in good shape. 🙂

  2. I made these twice so far. They were delicious the first time but almost perfect the second time. The first time I couldn’t get cracks in the surface even after 15 minutes in the oven at 350 (maybe a calibration is in order!). The second time I used convection for about 5 minutes and then backed off to ujust backing for another 5 minutes and they were beautiful.

    I thought the sugar from rolling the cookies in sugar before baking didn’t add much as these are pretty complex so when I was at the grocery store I looked at all the sugars and finally settled on C&H Washed Raw Sugar – now that added the right complexity to the finish.

  3. At first I was thinking it was ginger snaps like this that my mom’s cousin used to make, but while reading the comments, I remember it was molasses cookies-yum, I can still taste them. She used to let me eat some of the raw dough (raw eggs and I’m still here).

  4. When you say 1 1/2 sticks of butter, what size sticks are you using? I buy the smaller 4oz ones so I want to make sure I’m using enough.

      1. Hi Cassie, this recipe sounds so yummy and I can’t wait to try it! However I’m in the UK and I’m confused about the butter amount (each conversion website I use tells me something different). Can you possibly tell me how much a stick of butter is in oz or grams?

        Thanks so much and sorry to be a pain.

      2. Just want to be sure, if they are 1/2 cup sticks and you need 1 1/2 sticks… is that 3/4 cup total butter?
        Thanks!

      3. Hi Cassie – is it definitely 1 1/2 cups of butter or 3/4 cup butter (as stated in later comments)?
        Thanks so much!

  5. Oh my! I just made these this morning. SO DELICIOUS, Cassie!!! I think the black pepper makes a difference and adds a little spicy edge! Loved them!

  6. Instead of shaping these as round cookies, can you shape these as Christmas cookies? Also, could you decorate these with frosting given the sugar coating you put on them? I am trying to find a good cookie to do for a christmas cookie swap and I wanted to try a chewy gingerbread cookie.

    1. Since they are so soft, then tend to spread a bit in the oven, so they wouldn’t be great for cutouts. And yes, you could definitely put frosting on top! They’d be yummy with a cream cheese frosting. Yum!

  7. My 3 year old son has asked to make gingerbread men for the mailman. 🙂 But I’d like to avoid the hard, crunchy gingerbread cookies also! Is there any way to make these into “men” or would they immediately lose their shape when baked?

    Thank you!

    Bridget

    1. I haven’t tried it, but try chilling the dough for an hour, then rolling out, cutting the shapes, and then chilling again for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before baking—that should help them retain some of their shape (although, no guarantees—I’d love to know how it turns out!).