Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Healthy & So Good!)

Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Healthy & So Good!)

Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Healthy & So Good!)

Information about Easy Gingerbread Cookies (Healthy & So Good!)

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These Easy Gingerbread Cookies are our go-to holiday cookie recipe. They are SO super simple to make with the kids and they are delicious for the whole family to share. (They also happen to be free from eggs and nuts, so more kiddos can enjoy them!)

healthy gingerbread cookies on round plate

Easy Gingerbread Cookies

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that iced cookies go first. And these cookies, while only having a little icing, are a great option to make with the kids. When thinking about this recipe, I wanted to make it as simple as possible, but also ensure that it has the classic gingerbread flavor.

And since I know how much a short ingredient list can matter when baking with kids—because they aren’t always the most patient!—the dough is incredibly simple to mix up.

TIP: You don’t even need a mixer to make these healthy cookies since you can simply use your hands to combine the dough. (My girls loves to do that step!)

Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe for Kids

These cookies have mellow, not to spicy flavor, but still taste like classic gingerbread. We love to make these around the holidays!

The simple icing on top gives ample opportunities for the kids to get in on the decorating action.

TIP: You can do more elaborate decorating on these with the kids if you prefer.

ingredients in easy gingerbread cookies

Ingredients You Need

You don’t need any electric cooking tools to make these Gingerbread Men Cookies—just a bowl and clean hands! Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need:

  • White whole-wheat flour: Or you can use half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Allspice
  • Salt
  • Maple syrup: This adds both moisture and sweetness.
  • Molasses: This is key for classic gingerbread flavor.
  • Milk
  • Butter: I like to use unsalted butter in baking.
  • Sprinkles, raisins, chocolate chips as desired for decorating.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Use half whole-wheat and half all purpose flour instead of the white whole wheat. Or just one or the other, but know you may need a smidge more milk if you use all whole wheat.
  • If you don’t have maple syrup, you can use honey. (Avoid honey for kids under age 1.)
  • Dairy-free: Use nondairy milk and vegan butter or coconut oil.
  • If you don’t have molasses, you can use honey. It won’t have the same gingerbread flavor though.
how to make gingerbread cookies step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this easy gingerbread. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Use a spoon and/or a clean hand to mix together to form a dough by gently stirring and mixing. Make a flattened disc of dough. 
  3. Roll out the dough 
  4. Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter. You can lightly flour the cookie cutter if they are sticking at all.
  5. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake and let cool. Add icing if desired.

TIP: You can make these the day before you want to serve them if you prefer and store them in an airtight container in at room temperature.

icing gingerbread cookies with a piping bag

Frequently Asked Questions

What do these Gingerbread Cookies taste like?

These cookies are not super sweet, but they for sure taste like a treat from the hint of maple syrup, molasses, and spices. And they have a crisp, buttery texture that is delicious.

What kind of icing do you use on these cookies?

For the icing, you can either stir together powdered sugar and milk or use softened cream cheese and honey. Add food coloring (like this natural set from McCormick) and decorations as you and your kids like.

We’ve done raisins for buttons, sliced almonds for mouths, chocolate chips, and sprinkles!

Can I make these cookies ahead of time?

You can make the dough the night before or a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. It will need to sit at room temperature for about an hour to soften up, or you can remove it from the plastic, put it onto a plate, and microwave for 5-10 seconds.

What makes them “easy”?

You don’t have to use any electric mixers to make these and the dough is really easy to work with. It doesn’t get tough if the kids play with it a bit either, which is a big plus.

Best Tips for Baking with Kids

Breaking the process of making these cookies into a few steps is a great way to get the kids involved and avoid having anyone get too overwhelmed. You can make the dough ahead and have it ready.

You can bake the cookies and just let the kids help ice them. Either way, have your ingredients ready, a work space set up where it’s okay to make a mess, and have the kids wash their hands before they get started.

iced gingerbread cookies

Best Tips for Success

  • Use white whole wheat flour or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat.
  • If the dough seems a little too dry once you’ve incorporated the liquid and butter into the flour, you can add another tablespoon of milk but go easy on the liquid as more will make the dough stickier. It’s ready when it holds together when you try to form it into a ball.
  • Refrigerate the dough briefly to help prevent sticking if desired.
  • Roll out the dough between parchment to prevent sticking. Do this for sure if you skipped chilling the dough.
  • Gluten-free: Use this gluten-free flour from King Arthur and add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed to the dough.
  • Dairy free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of butter and plain unsweetened nondairy milk.
  • You may also like Easy Sugar Cookies, Favorite Christmas Cookies for Kids, Salt Dough, and Graham Cracker Houses.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it with your kids, so please comment below!

This post was first published November 2018.

healthy gingerbread cookies on round plate

Easy Gingerbread Cookies

Amy Palanjian

Flavorful, whole-wheat gingerbread with just a hint of natural sweetness. These are a perfect holiday cookie to make with the kids. Double the batch to make more.

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 9 mins

Total Time 39 mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 8 (Makes about 2 dozen small cookies)

Calories 124 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
  • sprinkles, raisins, chocolate chips

Instructions 

  • Place all ingredients into a bowl and use your hand to mix together to form a dough. You’ll want to be gentle but thorough to incorporate the butter into the dough. (If the dough seems a little too dry once you’ve incorporated the liquid and butter into the flour, you can add another tablespoon of milk but go easy on the liquid as more will make the dough stickier. It’s ready when it holds together when you try to form it into a ball.)

  • Make a flattened disc of dough. Optional: Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes. This will make the dough a little less sticky for rolling out, but it works okay to skip this step too if the kids don’t want to wait. 

  • Preheat the oven to 370°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Roll the dough ¼-inch thick between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap. (You can do it on a lightly floured surface, but I always find this easier. You’ll want to use parchment paper if you skipped chilling the dough so it doesn’t stick.)

  • Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. (Keep an eye on them after 8 minutes since the edges can brown fast. 9 minutes was perfect in my oven.)

  • Remove from the oven, let cool on the baking sheet for a minute, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Use a small butter knife to spread on the icing or pipe on as desired. If adding sprinkles or other decorations, add them to the iced cookies right away before it dries.

Notes

  • Royal Icing: Stir together ½ cup powdered sugar with a few drops of milk, adding more of either as needed to make a thick icing. Spread on cookies or put into a ziptop bag, seal, and snip one edge off to make a little piping bag for the kids.
  • Cream Cheese Icing: Stir together 4 ounces cream cheese, softened, with 1-2 tablespoons honey until spreadable or pipeable. You can put some into a ziptop bag, seal it and snip one edge off to make a little piping bag for the kids. Add on raisins or chocolate chips as you like!
  • Make-Ahead: You can make the dough the night before or a few hours in advance and store it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. It will need to sit at room temperature for about an hour to soften up, or you can remove it from the plastic, put it onto a plate, and microwave for 5-10 seconds. 
  • Use white whole wheat flour or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat.
  • If the dough seems a little too dry once you’ve incorporated the liquid and butter into the flour, you can add another tablespoon of milk but go easy on the liquid as more will make the dough stickier. It’s ready when it holds together when you try to form it into a ball.
  • Refrigerate the dough briefly to help prevent sticking if desired.
  • Roll out the dough between parchment to prevent sticking. Do this for sure if you skipped chilling the dough.
  • Gluten-free: Use this gluten-free flour from King Arthur and add 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed to the dough.
  • Dairy free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of butter and plain unsweetened nondairy milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 3cookiesCalories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 67mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 184IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg

Keyword easy gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cookies, healthy cookies

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