Festive Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

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Many years ago, my friend Sharon gave me this recipe for gingerbread cookies. She got it from a cookbook she bought at a used book sale. The original name of the recipe was “Gingerbread Boys,” but I decided to change the name not out of political correctness, but because at our house we also like to make cookies shaped like Christmas trees, Santa, Frosty, and the Alamo. I have tried many gingerbread cookie recipes over the years, but this is my favorite. The dough works well if you would like to make ahead and freeze.

Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies



  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (my friend and I add 2 large eggs)
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Cream together shortening and brown sugar. Add the egg(s) and mix. Next, add the molasses and vinegar. Finally, add vanilla and mix, then set aside. Sift together all of the dry ingredients and add 1/3 of a cup at a time to the wet ingredients, beating until smooth. Chill the dough for at least 3 hours. Cut off a piece of dough and refrigerate the rest until it is ready for use. Toss on floured surface and roll to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place cookies on sprayed cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake at preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until edges brown. Remove and place on racks to cool before frosting.

For the decorating icing, I use Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe.