10 Tablespoons (2/3 cup; 145g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
2/3 cup (200g) unsulphured molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 -3 and 1/2 cups (437g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger (yes, 1full Tablespoon!)
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
optional: easy cookie icing or royal icing
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat on medium high speed until combined and creamy-looking. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Next, beat in egg, vanilla, and lemon zest on high speed for 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The butter may separate; that’s ok.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick and slightly sticky. Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Chill discs for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
Remove 1 disc of chilled cookie dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour a work surface, as well as your hands and the rolling pin. Don’t be afraid to continually flour the work surface as needed- this dough can be sticky. Roll out disc until 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Re-roll dough scraps until all the dough is shaped. Repeat with remaining disc of dough.
Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. If your cookie cutters are smaller than 4 inches, bake for about 8 minutes. If your cookie cutters are larger than 4 inches, bake for about 11 minutes. Rotate the pan once during bake time.
Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Once completely cool, decorate as desired.
Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions:Baked and decorated (or not decorated) cookies freeze well – up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough discs (just the dough prepared through step 2) freeze well – up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
Gingerbread House: This cookie dough is not sturdy enough for gingerbread houses.
Special Tools: Cookie cutters, rolling pin, large baking sheets (these are what I use for baking, baking mats