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Holiday gingerbread cookies with royal icing
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Gingerbread Cookies with Apple Cider Icing

Gingerbread Cookies with Apple Cider Icing are a festive holiday favorite!  The classic gingerbread cookie gets an upgrade with royal icing flavored with apple cider.  This small batch of cookies yield a perfectly tender cookie with delicious molasses and spice flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas, Cookies, Gingerbread, Holiday Cookie, Royal Icing, Small Batch
Servings: 1 Dozen (see notes)
Author: Erin | Butter and Bliss

Ingredients

Gingerbread Cookies

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons molasses, unsulphured
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Cider Royal Icing

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons apple cider (see Instructions) or any kind of milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the butter and brown sugar. Use a hand held mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add in the egg yolk, molasses, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the yolk and molasses are mixed in well. The batter may look a little curdled - which is ok.
  • Sprinkle, or sift, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt over the top of the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until not dry streaks remain.
  • Pour the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently form into a disc. Cover the dough tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350o degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. If you want thicker cookies, don't roll the dough so thin.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes, and place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Re-roll any scraps to cut into more cookies. I don't recommend re-rolling the dough more than twice.
  • I recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time. While the first batch is baking, refrigerate the other baking sheet of cookies. If the cookies feel as though they got too warm while rolling and cutting, place both baking sheets in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are set. If you want crispier cookies, bake for a couple minutes longer. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cookies are cool, make the royal icing and decorate the cookies!

Royal Icing

  • In a small mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider. If you want a more pronounced apple cider flavor, reduce 1 cup of apple cider to a 1/4 cup by simmering the juice over medium heat in a saucepan for 15-25 minutes. Add a teaspoon of cider at a time get your desired consistency. The apple cider is totally OPTIONAL.
  • If you prefer plain royal icing, use 1-2 teaspoons of milk (any kind) instead. Whisk together until the powdered sugar is moist. Add a teaspoon of milk at a time to get to your desired icing/decorating consistency.
  • Depending on how you choose to decorate your cookies, you may need more icing. You can double the ingredient amounts as needed.

Notes

  • The number of cookies in your batch will depend on how thick you roll out your cookie dough, and the size of your cookie cutters.
  • I recommend refrigerating the cut-out cookies before baking.  This helps them not spread too much.
  • I also recommend baking one baking sheet of cookies at a time.  For an even bake and not having to worry about rotating baking sheets in the middle of baking.
  • For a crispier cookie, bake for 1-2 more minutes.
  • The apple cider in the icing is optional.  You can use milk if you prefer.
  • If you choose to use the apple cider and want a more pronounced apple cider flavor, reduce 1 cup of apple cider to a 1/4 cup by simmering the juice over medium heat in a saucepan for 15-25 minutes.
  • Depending on how you choose to decorate your cookies, you may need more icing. You can double the ingredient amounts as needed.