No holiday cookie platter is complete without gingerbread cookies. I love them because they’re simple, delicious and fun to make. But not every gingerbread cookie is created equal. Of course you want to offer your friends and family the best possible cookie. So here are a few tips to help you create the perfect gingerbread cookies:
1) Lighten Them Up—It’s easy to make gingerbread cookies healthier thanks to the bold flavor they get from molasses and spices. Cinnamon, ginger and cloves can easily mask the flavor of whole wheat flour (which we use plenty of in our cookie recipes without a noticeable change in the result). And the rich flavor of molasses makes it easier to cut back on butter—a source of saturated fat. Since you do need some fat in cookies, we replace the butter with a little canola oil, which is mild in flavor and lower in saturated fat.
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2) Let the Dough Chill—Chill your dough for at least 2 hours before rolling it out. It makes is less likely to stick to the rolling pin or your countertop.
3) Don’t Overwork Your Dough—Gingerbread cookies should be firm, but they should be tender, not tough. Toughness is caused by the dough being worked too much—either by overmixing or rerolling too many times. Our recipe has some built-in protection against toughness in the form of white vinegar. The acid from the vinegar tenderizes the dough without imparting an off-taste
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4) Map Out Your Cookie Cuts—Making gingerbread cookies is like a puzzle. Once you’ve rolled your dough out, take some time to figure out where to place your cookie cutters to optimize space. Place your cutters close together and use smaller cookie cutters for the edges or other small spaces. This will help cut back on extra dough. Sure, you can roll out the scraps, but the more you roll your dough, the less tender it will be.
5) Keep Your Cookies Fresh—Cookies are best when they’re not much more than a day or two old. Be sure to store them in an airtight container to keep them from drying out. If you love fresh-baked cookies, bake only a few at a time, and freeze the rest of the dough to be used later. Our dough can be frozen for up to a month.
Related: How to Host a Cookie Swap
Get the Recipe: The Carlsmith Family’s Gingerbread Cookies »
Looking for other delicious cookies for your cookie platter? We’re teaming up with our friends at the Food Network to bring you the best cookie recipes from across the internet for a virtual cookie swap. Check out some of these links from our fellow foodies to find more cookie recipes you’ll love.
All You Magazine: White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
Oprah.com: Sugar Cookies
Gilt Taste: Milk Bar Holiday Cookies
Liquor.com: Drink in the Holidays
Cooking Light: Iced Sugar Cookies
MyRecipes.com: Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Food52: Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies
Cooking Channel: The White House’s Molasses Spice Cookies “Gingersnaps”
BlogHer: Triple Chocolate Almond Cookies
CafeMom: Marvelous Mini Apple Crisp Cookies
The Daily Meal: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Food Republic: Gingerbread Cheesecake Cookies
EatingWell: 5 Tips for Perfect Gingerbread Cookies
Redbook Magazine: Candy Cane Cookies
Gourmet Live: Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies
AP/ J.M. Hirsch: Ginger Fig Crumb Bars
Fox News: White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Epicurious: Italian Almond Cookies
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Cowboy Cookies
FN Dish: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip-Bacon Cookies
Yahoo! Shine: Nutmeg Rosettes
Food & Wine: Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs
YumSugar: Coconut Date Balls
What are your secrets for perfect gingerbread cookies? Tell us what you think below.