Many festive meals and snacks can be prepared in advance and enjoyed later during the holidays - and some of them make a wonderful edible gift - just like these soft German gingerbread biscuits!
Why To Love These German Gingerbread Cookies
The recipe for these cookies is easy! Prepare the dough a day in advance (or in the morning) and enjoy cutting and baking them later.
Decorating them is also good fun, especially with kids!
If you're missing any of the spices or if you're not a fan of some of those, feel free to substitute them with nutmeg or vanilla for example.
Recipes often vary in the spices used, so feel free to be creative here!
If you are looking for a more subtle recipe for Christmas cookies, try these or Linzer cookies.
Remember to allow some resting time for the dough and some time for cooling and drying after decorating. Give it at least half an hour in the fridge, but you can also let it rest for up to 48 hours. Alternatively, freeze the dough in a plastic bag and defrost it when ready to bake.
When rolling the dough and cutting them out, always use similar-sized cookie cutters for shapes on one baking tray, so that the biscuits bake evenly.
Bigger cookies need more baking time. Check if they're fully baked before taking them out of the oven.
Now, it's time to listen to some Christmas songs and start baking!
📖 The Recipe
Spiced German Gingerbread Cookies
For the dough
- 250 g plain flour plus some for dusting
- 50 g icing sugar
- 75 g butter softened
- 3 pcs free-range eggs
- 1 ½ tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground anise seed
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
- ½ teaspoon ground all spice
Lemon and sugar icing (optional)
- 120 g icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
Preparing the dough
- Take the butter out of the fridge at least 30mins prior making the dough, cut into dices and leave to soften at room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour and baking soda.
- Add sugar, cocoa, spices, honey and stir in 2 eggs.
- Gradually start adding the butter, one dice at a time. Knead it into the dough. When absorbed, add more.
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until you don't see any bits of butter in it.
- Create a loaf, put on a plate, wrap in a cling film and leave to rest for 6-12hrs in the fridge.
Making cookies and baking
- After the resting time, take the dough out of the fridge and set aside for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.
- Once the dough is a little less cold, cut it in half. Using a rolling pin, roll out one half on a lightly dusted surface until it's about 0.5cm thick. Prepare your baking trays (no need to use butter or greaseproof paper).
- Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place them on the prepared baking trays.
- Knead together any leftover dough and add more of the other half of it, roll it out and repeat the two previous steps until you used all of the dough.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8-10mins or until brown on top.In the meantime, prepare the glazing: Break 1 egg into a mug and beat it with a fork until smooth.
- Once the cookies are baked, take them out of the oven, set on a cooling rack and immediately brush over with the beaten egg. Leave to dry and cool down for 15-20 mins.
Decorating with icing (optional)
- Boil 250ml of water in a kettle.
- Sift the icing sugar through a sieve into a large mixing bowl, making sure there are no lumps.
- Add lemon juice and boiling water and stir together until smooth and thick.
- Test the thickness of the icing: Use a spoon and drizzle a little bit of the icing over a serving plate.
- When the icing is thick enough (not runny) but also liquid enough (not completely solid) so that it can be used for decorating, place it in a small plastic bag. Push all of the contents into one bottom corner and cut a small part of the plastic bag's corner with scissors (the smaller the hole, the thinner (narrower) the lines will be and vice versa).
- Test the icing on the previously used serving plate: Gently squeeze out the icing, so that it comes out of the cut corner of the plastic bag. Keep an eye on the top of the bag - if not closed, the icing may run out on the other side. Squeeze it back down if needed. Once you're happy with the style of the icing, decorate your cookies with ornaments and pictures.
- Leave to set for 1-2hrs.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
- These cookies are suitable for home freezing. Store in an airtight container and consume within 2 months. Always defrost before serving.