Expert tips for making the best gingerbread cookies.
gingerbread cookies

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

gingerbread cookies

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. 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.

2. Let the Dough Chill

map out your gingerbread dough

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

rolling gingerbread 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. Some recipes have built-in protection against toughness in the form of white vinegar. The acid from the vinegar tenderizes the dough without imparting an off-taste.

4. Map Out Your Cookie Cuts

map out your gingerbread dough

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

gingerbread cookie dough

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.