These easy and delicious, soft and chewy gingerbread crackle cookies are perfect for the holidays or your Christmas cookie swap!
If you are looking for an easy and delicious Christmas cookie recipe, this is it! Filled with gingerbread spices and coated in powdered sugar, these cookies bake up with a pretty crackle.
These gingerbread cookies also make a big batch. You’ll get 30 to 36 cookies from one batch, so they’re perfect for your Christmas cookie swap, too.
This is a very forgiving dough, as there is no need to refrigerate before baking or even between batches. These would be great to bake with the kids or grandkids!
Butter: The recipe specifies unsalted butter, but if you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it, but reduce the added sugar as indicated in the recipe.
Molasses: Make sure you are using “Fancy” molasses and not a molasses labelled “cooking molasses” or Blackstrap molasses, which will be too harsh a flavour for these cookies.
Brown Sugar: If you only have dark brown sugar on hand, go ahead and use it. It will introduce a bit more molasses flavour and give you a slightly darker cookie, but it should be fine.
- Measure your flour carefully using the Stir, Spoon and Level method. That is, stir the flour in the container first, then spoon it into a dry (usually metal) measuring cup, overfilling the cup. Use the flat edge of a knife to scrape off the excess, level with the top of the measuring cup, allowing the excess to fall back into the container.
- Use good quality, regular butter for cookie baking. It’s tempting to opt for cheaper butter, especially when you’re going through a lot of butter in baking, but inexpensive butter may have higher water content that may affect the quality of the finished product. I stay away from “cultured” butter, unless it’s specified in the recipe, as most recipe are written and tested with regular butter.
- Speaking of butter, if a recipe calls for “softened” or “room temperature” butter, allowing the butter to come to room temperature is not optional :) Take your butter out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting to bake. Any method to speed up the process is very likely to backfire. If the butter melts even the slightest, you can completely change the texture of your finished cookie. My advice, be patient and wait for the butter to come to room temperature on it’s own.
- If a recipe suggests refrigerating the dough, don’t skip or shortchange the time, as a chilled dough is often necessary to prevent cookies from over-spreading.
- Cookie baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the baking sheet and from oven to oven. Watch your first batch closely. On your baking sheet and in your oven, they may take more or less time to cook. Don’t assume they’ll be done when the recipe says they should be.
Be sure to take the egg out of the refrigerator at the same time you take the butter out, so it can come to room temperature as well.
A small cookie scoop is invaluable for making cookies like this and I highly recommend adding one to your kitchen if you don’t have one already. I used a 1 Tablespoon scoop, so if you don’t have one, I suggest using your 1 Tbsp measuring spoon and using a kitchen teaspoon to scoop it out. In both cases, gently roll the dough between your palms to get a rough ball. No need for it to be perfect, as you will be flattening it out later. It just makes rolling it in the icing sugar much easier.
Ensure that your dough balls are well coated in icing sugar, as this is what makes for good cracks in your finished cookies.
You only need to give the cookies a gentle press with the palm of your hand before baking. You don’t want to flatten them to the point where they get wider. Simply flatten the rounded top.
I didn’t refrigerate my cookie dough between batches and I didn’t even cover it. I’m happy to report that the first batch was just the same as the last batch, so no need to fuss over this dough.
My cookies took 15 minutes in my oven, but I used a quite heavy baking sheet. Yours may cook more quickly.
With my cookie scoop size, I got 36 cookies, baking in 3 batches of 12 cookies each.
These cookies keep really well stored in a cookie tin at room temperature. They’ll be good for a week or even more!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, reduce to 1/8 tsp if using salted butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup fancy molasses, not blackstrap
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Icing/confectioners' sugar, for rolling
- Remove your butter and egg from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 325F with the rack in the centre of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and then the molasses.
- Add the flour mixture all at once to the butter mixture, blending together at low speed until thoroughly blended. Stir in the granulated white sugar just until blended.
- Use a small cookie scoop or a measuring Tablespoon, scoop out the batter and shape into balls by gently and quickly rolling between your palms. Roll the balls in the icing sugar, ensuring they are well coated, then place them on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Gently press down on the cookies with the palm of your hand to flatten into a puck shape.
- Bake until the cookies have puffed up and are set at the edges, anywhere from 12-15 minutes (will vary depending on size, baking sheet thickness and your oven). Remove from oven and place the baking sheet onto a cooling rack. Take one end of the baking sheet and raise it up a couple of inches, then drop it down onto the rack, to deflate the cookies and expand the cracks a bit. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a a cooling rack to cool completely.