Gingerbread Cookies

What screams the holidays more than a sugared-up cookie? I stumbled upon these cookies from my family recipe tin (see last week’s post Molasses cookies made simple and easy). I really wanted to create fun and unique Christmas holiday cookies complete with Santa’s sleigh and an abominable snowman. After quickly realizing I was not going to find these shapes easily in any store around town I realized I could just make my own cut-outs! You can use this method for any shape and size you’d like. As a bonus, this recipe comes together perfectly to create gingerbread cookies that don’t spread out in the oven.

All this takes is some Googling and scissor skills. When trying to recreate specific characters I find it best to search for your image by cartoon. For example, search for “cartoon Santa sleigh.” This way there are usually limited details in the image, but enough to capture what you need for shape, size and decoration. Once you find the image you want, print it out and cut out the shape.


Place the printed cutout guide on top of rolled-out dough. With a paring knife carefully cut-out the dough around the shape of the paper guide. Once all of your desired shapes are done use a spatula to transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I kept my dough a little on the thicker side since I wanted these to have a nice snappy bite.


Once baked-off to a perfectly crisp gingerbread, design and decorate to your heart’s content. Royal icing works perfectly to add color and artistic flare to the gingerbread. My royal icing piping skills could use some work but I find that it is very forgiving.

Tip: if you want your gingerbread to stand upright for a display or showstopper, use that same sharp paring knife to carefully cut a straight base to the cookie. I found this works best once they are baked since the edges soften as they are in the oven.

Decorating in process



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening (or unsalted butter)
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, ginger.


If this recipe looks familiar you have a keen eye! This is the same recipe from my recent post Molasses cookies, but without the baking soda. Chill the dough and then roll it out on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent these will not spread very much.


350° for 10-12 minutes. For this display, my intention was to have all of the cookies free standing so I baked them off until they were well done but not burnt. For a softer cookie, stick to around 10 minutes!

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3 Ways to Make the Best Shortbread for the Holidays

Need a quick and easy cookie to bake for that last minute holiday get together? Look no further for how to make easy shortbread. It’s a crowd pleaser and easy on the eyes. Also there are three different variations I like to mix it up and give ‘er the old razzle dazzle. Start with the base dough and you can get creative from there. You can also play with extracts and toppings to show your personality!img_9437

Yes, make the dough! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Cream the butter & sugar and then add in the flour. At this point let’s get our hands dirty. For real. It’s best to do this part by hand and knead the dough slightly. If it’s quite crumbly add a bit of butter until it just holds together. Chill the dough; I usually say until I’m done being patient and then roll it out and the real fun begins.

Dough texture pre-rolling out



1) Sugar Sprinkles

The first decoration (and the easiest, I might add!) is to use a cookie stamp decorating tool. Cut out the desired shape and press the stamp into the dough to reveal a gorgeous design. Then sprinkle with sugar and bake!

2) Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

Number two!  The second option is for our chocolate lovers. For this variation you simply roll out the dough and cut a simple shape. I like to keep the shape simple for this so the outside decorations can really have their moment. Bake off, and while the cookies are cooling melt some dark chocolate and smash up a candy cane. Then dunk half of the shortbread in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint pieces. It’s best to set these to cool on parchment unless you like shortbread glued to your countertop. No judgement here.

3) Holly Jolly Trees

Aaaand number three. For the third variation we circle back to the holiday classic with MORE sugar. Grab your royal icing and get busy. Surprisingly adding royal icing to the shortbread really tops off the flavor and is a lot of fun. Of course buttercream would work as well if that is your icing of choice. Here you can mix & match the cookie colors of your dreams! I went with a fun twist of the Christmas tree and make it neon and top a few with sprinkles. Cause why not?!




  • 3/4 cup butter room temperature (add more as needed to bring dough together if too crumbly)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (plus extra for topping)


Cream butter & sugar until just combined. Mix in vanilla. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. At this point its best to use your hands to finish incorporating the flour. Once combined, move the dough to countertop and lightly knead. Wrap in parchment paper and chill the dough. Roll out keeping the dough about 1/2 thick on floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent, these will not spread very much.


350° for 15-20 minutes.

Let cool, add icing, sprinkles, or chocolate and peppermint crumbles to create your favorite variation. Enjoy the best shortbread for the holidays!


Did you make any of these variations? Tag me on IG and FB!


Molasses Cookies Made Simple and Easy

Since we will be drinking loads of hot chocolate this holiday season we should probably find something to balance that out. The first thing that comes to mind is a large bucket of marshmallows topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate syrup. As you down that glorious and oh so practical cup of hot chocolate, grab a molasses cookie! Follow this recipe for how to make molasses cookies and you will end up with cookies that have crispy edges and perfectly soft topped with sparkly sugar.

AKA get all of your ingredients together before even thinking about baking! Of course I am kidding. However, I do find it much easier and faster to breeze through a bake if you have all of your ingredients pre-measured so they can be added in one-by-one. In the past I have caught myself trying to measure and read the instructions all at the same time and then wait, was that two or three cups of flour I just added? (more…)