These Crisp Gingerbread Cookies are not just delicious – they double as a sweet Advent calendar to make your holiday countdown extra magical! The high yield dough makes a whole bunch of buttery, spiced cookies with a snappable baked texture.
With Thanksgiving now in the rearview, there’s no better way to kick off the Christmas festivities than by baking a big batch of gingerbread cookies. (It’s cookie season, after all!) Buttery, spiced, and with a snappy texture, these Crisp Gingerbread Cookies can be fashioned into any shape you like! I decided to stamp the dough with number cookie cutters, for a fun edible advent calendar.
We all know that classic royal icing is the usual decoration for gingerbread cookies (it’s a favorite of mine!). But this time, I used green modeling chocolate instead (also called covering chocolate). It has the texture of fondant, but it tastes totally different. Think white chocolate flavor meets candy melts color. I used the same cookie cutters that stamped the gingerbread dough to make same-sized green numbers. This makes for some very simple decorating! However, if you’re not into buying a specialty ingredient, I’m including my standard royal icing formula in the recipe notes.
Make the gingerbread dough.
To start, mix up the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer – preferably a standing mixer – this makes a lot of thick dough. It shouldn’t be very sticky. There’s a small amount of ground black pepper mixed in, which is nearly undetectable. I think it adds a little more zing to the ginger flavor. Once well blended, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Roll the gingerbread dough thin.
There are two ways to go here. The first option is the old fashioned way: dust your rolling pin and a work surface with flour, and roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. The second option, and my favorite technique: roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thickness. The second technique creates less mess and doesn’t leave flour marks on your dough.
Transfer the cut-outs to baking sheets.
Now comes the fun part – cutting out the cookies! Use number-shaped cookie cutters to create your Christmas countdown shapes. You can find the ones I used for purchase right here. (I bought the set in 2017, and they come in SO handy for birthdays in particular.) Transfer the cut cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each one. Bake them until crisp and fragrant.
As I mentioned earlier, royal icing works just fine, but I had some leftover covering chocolate that I needed to use up. It’s a really easy way to decorate these number cookies – you use the same cookie cutters that you used to stamp the number with to cut the covering chocolate. You can find the covering chocolate I used for purchase right here.
The covering chocolate has a firm texture and should be kneaded and rolled like fondant, but it adds a candy coated flavor to the mix. Use the same number-shaped cookie cutters to cut out pieces of the covering chocolate. Brush the cookies with a little water, then carefully place the chocolate numbers on top of your gingerbread cookies. The moisture works to ‘glue’ the chocolate to the cookie.
Add some sprinkles.
Add dots of piping gel or clear corn syrup to the cookies and then sprinkle on some holiday cheer! The cookies will need to stand overnight for the sprinkles to set completely. As usual, I made my own sprinkle mix from what I had on hand, but this mix is fairly close to my own.
Aren’t these bags cute? Right after I purchased them, they sold out! (Boo!) If you’re crafty, and you’d like to make your own, you can buy some cotton drawstring bags, this stencil, some fabric paint, and then stencil the image onto the bags. Tie on a red felt tip marker so the recipient can cross off the dates as the cookies are enjoyed.
All that’s left is to fill the bags! A whole month of cookies will fill each bag to the top. This advent treat is a fun way to (literally) savor each day up to December 25th. And besides, who could say no to cookies every day? ‘Tis the season!
Crisp Gingerbread Cookies
- Number cookie cutters
- 6 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 lb. green covering chocolate such as Choco Pan by Satin Ice
- Piping gel or clear corn syrup
- 1 cup mixed holiday themed sprinkles
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set this mixture aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the spices, salt, and pepper, followed by the eggs and molasses. Mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds, and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Or, you may choose to roll the dough between sheets of parchment paper. Use number cookie cutter for Advent cookies, or use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes. Re-roll dough and repeat process for more cookies.
- Transfer the cut-outs to parchment-lined baking sheets, and place them in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are crisp but not overly browned. Keep a close eye on them as baking times may vary slightly depending on the size of your cookies.
- Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks before decorating.
- Knead the modeling chocolate well and roll out on a work surface or a large piece of parchment paper using a rolling pin. If the chocolate is sticky, dust your surface and rolling pin with a little powdered sugar.
- Use the same cookie cutters you used to stamp dough shapes to stamp out shapes from the chocolate.
- Brush a little water on a cooled cookie and top with a matching chocolate cut out. Repeat with remaining cookies.
- Using a small kitchen-dedicated art brush, apply small beads of piping gel or corn syrup to the chocolate covering on the cookies. Top with holiday sprinkles. Allow cookies to stand until the sprinkles are well set, about 4 hours or overnight.
- Package the cookies for gifting or for your own enjoyment each day up to December 25th.
If you’d rather go classic with royal icing, here’s my favorite recipe made with meringue powder.
Royal Icing4 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted 3 tablespoons meringue powder 1/4 cup warm water plus more for thinning 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract green gel food color
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, stir the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined. Add the water and beat on medium high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add water drops at a time if too thick. Add flavoring and beat on low until combined; tint with the green gel food color.
Flood Consistency: Stir drops of water into the icing until it is thinned but still has the consistency of a thick milkshake, this is called flood consistency. To make sure the consistency is correct, drag a spoon through the center of the icing in a straight line, creating an indentation. When the icing is of perfect flood consistency, the indentation should completely disappear in 10 seconds. If it disappears too quickly, then the icing is too thin and will not dry properly. The indentation should disappear as close to the 10 second mark as possible. It is much harder to thicken the icing after it has been thinned than to make thick icing thinner, so take your time and add water drops a few at a time.
Place a #2 round decorator piping tip into the bottom of a small piping bag; snip off plastic on the end of the piping bag. Fill piping bag with green icing and seal the open end with a rubber band.
- Pipe an outline of icing around a cookie and then flood the inside of the outline. Use a toothpick to push royal icing into blank areas and gaps. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let stand until set, overnight.
- Continue to decorate with piping gel and sprinkles as directed.