Gingerbread has a long history among religious men and women in Europe, but when the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel, spicy treat catapulted into mainstream German culture and folks began to decorate gingerbread houses like the one in the story. When German immigrants came to America, they brought this tradition, along with many other Christmas standards we now think of as American, right along with them.
This was the first time I’d ever made gingerbread cut-outs, and next year I hope to make a house with this recipe. It is sturdy enough to hold up, I think…but only time and royal icing will tell!
For the cookies
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup sugar
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons hot (just below boiling) water
In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, salt, and pepper; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and molasses until fluffy, about three minutes.
Add flour in two batches, beating until well-combined.
Divide dough in half and flatten into discs (dough will be very sticky); refrigerate about one hour, until easy to handle.
Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Bake for about 12 minutes; you do not want the gingerbread to burn, so keep an eye on it.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine 1 cup powdered sugar and one tablespoon very hot water; gradually add more water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until icing can be piped through a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.
Pipe as desired, or thin out icing further and drizzle.