Kids in the Kitchen

Gingerbread Cookie Recipes (Regular and Gluten Free) for Families

Whether or not you homeschool in December, the learning can continue! In fact, December is a great time to incorporate some real-life learning into your homeschool, so your kiddos won’t even realize they’re still learning. This year, my 16-year-old daughter and I decided (for the first time) to make from-scratch gingerbread cookies and decorate them together. It was (surprisingly!) easier than we thought, and we had a great time baking and decorating them together!

If you have younger children, your cookies may turn out a little misshapen, and the decorations may not be perfect (Ours weren’t!!), but you’ll have fun, learn together, and create some wonderful memories! I encourage you to give it a try and not worry too much about the outcome. Just have fun together!

My daughter and I have to eat gluten free for medical reasons, so we decided to make both a “regular” batch of gingerbread cookies and a gluten free batch. They came out surprisingly similar in flavor! (My husband tried both the gluten free and regular cookies for the comparison since I couldn’t eat the regular ones.)  The gluten free cookies were a little crunchier, and the regular ones were a little softer, but they were very similar other than that.

When we got ready to decorate our cookies, we used ready-to-use icing in pouches. We considered making our own royal icing, but (to be completely honest) we knew it would be faster, easier, and quicker to clean up if we used the ready-to-use icing in pouches instead. So if you want to make your own icing, go for it! But if you want to use ready-made icing, don’t feel bad about it!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies (Click the recipe below for your own printable version of the recipe.)

Ingredients:

3 cups gluten free flour (I like Pillsbury BEST Gluten Free Flour, but I’ve also heard good things about King Arthur Gluten Free Flour)

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon (I used more because I like mine more flavorful.)

1 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter (softened)

3/4 cup molasses (I used Grandma’s.)

2 tbsp milk

ready-to-use cookie icing in pouches (We used this kind, but you can also find other brands that come with decorating tips like these.)

M&M baking bits (for decoration)

Instructions:

  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir together.
  2. Add softened butter and mix gently until mixture is coarse/crumbs.
  3. Add molasses and milk a little at a time while continuing to mix.
  4. Once dough is mixed, separate into two parts, wrap each part in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. (I wanted to hurry along the process, so I chilled mine in the deep freezer for about 30 minutes instead.)
  5. When dough is almost finished chilling, preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Working with one part of the dough at a time (while the other continues to chill), roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to about 1/8″ thickness and cut into gingerbread shapes–or whatever other shape you want.
  7. Carefully move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan and bake at 325 for about 15 to 20 minutes. (I like to have a small bowl of my gluten free flour on the counter to use to sprinkle the metal spatula as a move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan. It helps so much with keeping the cookies from sticking to the spatula.)
  8. Don’t overbake your cookies! If they start to get slightly brown, remove them from the oven. It’s better to remove them before they begin to brown if possible.
  9. Once the cookies are baked and completely cooled, decorate however you’d like! We used ready-to-use icing in pouches and M&M Baking Bits to decorate our cookies.

Be sure to have fun decorating your cookies with your children! If you have young children who aren’t great at decorating beautiful cookies, let them have fun and don’t worry about how they look. Just enjoy spending time together making fun holiday memories!

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 cups gluten free flour (I like Pillsbury BEST Gluten Free Flour, but I've also heard good things about King Arthur Gluten Free Flour)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (I used more because I like mine more flavorful.)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup molasses (I used Grandma's.)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ready-to-use cookie icing in pouches
  • M&M baking bits
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir together.
  2. Add softened butter and mix gently until mixture is coarse/crumbs.
  3. Add molasses and milk a little at a time while continuing to mix.
  4. Once dough is mixed, separate into two parts, wrap each part in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. (I wanted to hurry along the process, so I chilled mine in the deep freezer for about 30 minutes instead.)
  5. When dough is almost finished chilling, preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Working with one part of the dough at a time (while the other continues to chill), roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to about ⅛" thickness and cut into gingerbread shapes--or whatever other shape you want.
  7. Carefully move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan and bake at 325 for about 15 to 20 minutes. (I like to have a small bowl of my gluten free flour on the counter to use to sprinkle the metal spatula as a move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan. It helps so much with keeping the cookies from sticking to the spatula.)
  8. Don't overbake your cookies! If they start to get slightly brown, remove them from the oven. It's better to remove them before they begin to brown if possible.
  9. Once the cookies are baked and completely cooled, decorate however you'd like! We used ready-to-use icing in pouches and M&M Baking Bits to decorate our cookies.

 

Gingerbread Cookies (Click the recipe below for your own printable version of the recipe.)

Ingredients:

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup molasses (I used Grandma’s.)

1 cup vegetable shortening

1 tbsp baking soda

1/4 cup cold water

1 egg (slightly beaten)

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp ground ginger (I used a little more.)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I used a little more.)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

buttermilk (I added this because the dough was a little too dry. I didn’t measure. I just added small amounts until the dough was the right consistency.)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, molasses, and shortening. Cook over medium-low heat just until mixture is melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and add baking soda and cold water. (Mixture will foam up when baking soda and water are added, so be sure to allow for this when you choose the saucepan to use.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once mixture is cool, add egg, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add 4 cups flour and mix well. Add extra 1/2 cup flour if dough is too sticky. (If dough is too dry, add small amounts of buttermilk until desired consistency is reached.)
  5. Once dough is mixed, separate into two parts, wrap each part in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. (I wanted to hurry along the process, so I chilled mine in the deep freezer for about 30 minutes instead.)
  6. When dough is almost finished chilling, preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Working with one part of the dough at a time (while the other continues to chill), roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into gingerbread shapes–or whatever other shape you want.
  8. Carefully move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. (I like to have a small bowl of flour on the counter to use to sprinkle the metal spatula as a move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan. It helps so much with keeping the cookies from sticking to the spatula.)
  9. Once the cookies rise and lose their shine, they are done. These cookies will be soft after baking, so you may need to wait a few minutes before removing them from the baking pan to your cooling rack (to keep them from breaking).
  10. Once the cookies are baked and completely cooled, decorate however you’d like! We used ready-to-use icing in pouches and M&M Baking Bits to decorate our cookies.

Again have fun decorating your cookies and don’t worry too much about how they look–especially if you have younger children.

 

Gingerbread Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 36 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses (I used Grandma's.)
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger (I used a little more.)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (I used a little more.)
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 4 to 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • buttermilk (I added this because the dough was a little too dry. I didn't measure. I just added small amounts until the dough was the right consistency.)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, molasses, and shortening. Cook over medium-low heat just until mixture is melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and add baking soda and cold water. (Mixture will foam up when baking soda and water are added, so be sure to allow for this when you choose the saucepan to use.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once mixture is cool, add egg, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir to mix well.
  4. Add 4 cups flour and mix well. Add extra ½ cup flour if dough is too sticky. (If dough is too dry, add small amounts of buttermilk until desired consistency is reached.)
  5. Once dough is mixed, separate into two parts, wrap each part in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. (I wanted to hurry along the process, so I chilled mine in the deep freezer for about 30 minutes instead.)
  6. When dough is almost finished chilling, preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Working with one part of the dough at a time (while the other continues to chill), roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to about ¼" thickness and cut into gingerbread shapes--or whatever other shape you want.
  8. Carefully move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. (I like to have a small bowl of flour on the counter to use to sprinkle the metal spatula as a move the cut-out cookies to the baking pan. It helps so much with keeping the cookies from sticking to the spatula.)
  9. Once the cookies rise and lose their shine, they are done. These cookies will be soft after baking, so you may need to wait a few minutes before removing them from the baking pan to your cooling rack (to keep them from breaking).
  10. Once the cookies are baked and completely cooled, decorate however you'd like! We used ready-to-use icing in pouches and M&M Baking Bits to decorate our cookies.

 

About the author

Wendy

Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, over 27 years ago, and they live in the South with their three children. Hannah, age 23, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 21, was the second homeschool graduate. Mary Grace, age 15, is the remaining homeschool student. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow an herb garden every summer with limited success.

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