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Soft Gingerbread Cookies. Soft, sink your teeth into it cookie with a nice balance of warm spices. Orange icing complements this delicious holiday treat!

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Servings 44 Approx. using a 3" cookie cutter


For the cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg I always use freshly ground
  • pinch of finely ground black pepper optional
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses I use Grandma's Molasses
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee room temperature (or 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder and 1/4 cup water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons orange juice


  1. Make cookies. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients from the flour through the black pepper. If you are using espresso powder instead of coffee, add the espresso powder in with the dry ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the sugar, molasses and coffee (or water if you used the espresso powder) and vanilla.
  3. Gradually add the flour/spice mixture to the and mix until smooth. The dough will be very soft. Divide into three pieces, shape into balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours until the dough is firm.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Working with one ball of dough at a time, (leave the others in the refrigerator until you're ready for them.) On a floured surface, roll dough to just under 1/4" thick. Use floured cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes. I used 3" cookie cutters.
  6. Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, brushing off any excess flour and bake for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies are firmly set around the edges. *See notes for baking in convection oven.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. Make icing. Whisk together confectioner's sugar and enough orange juice to make a nice piping consistency. Start with a little liquid and just add and stir until you've reached a thick but pipeable consistency. You don't want it too liquidy or your designs will not hold their shape. Nor do you want it too thick to pipe. I used a small round piping tip, but you could also use a heavy weight zip top plastic bag (like a freezer bag) and cut a small piece off the corner.
  9. Once you've decorated your cookies, allow the icing to fully set before storing. Store in an airtight container, layered with wax paper for 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

*I used my convection oven to bake these. I converted the temperature down to 350 degrees F. and baked for 7-8 minutes. The recipe states the baking directions for a regular oven.

*For cookies that release easily after cutting, make sure you are dipping your cookie cutters into flour before each cut and remember to pick up and turn your dough as you're rolling it, insuring that it's free from sticking to the surface. You can always sprinkle a little extra flour underneath it as you turn it if it seems to be sticking. This will insure that your cut outs will lift easily off the surface.

*If you prefer crisper cookies, roll the dough thinner, more like 1/8" and bake as directed. I've never made them thinner so I don't have personal experience. The original author states that they'll be crispy, but not hard.

*For your icing, you can use orange juice as I have, or you could use lemon juice for a different flavor. If you want your icing to not have any extra flavor, just substitute water for the juice. I don't add vanilla to the icing so that the icing can stay a brighter white. Recipe adapted from Baking Bites