If you’re looking for the perfect holiday treat for your family or to gift to friends, then you need to make these soft gingerbread cookies with maple cinnamon glaze ASAP.
While I’m not a big baker, these are easily the best cookies I’ve ever made. I brought them to a cookie exchange party earlier and later received a text from a friend that the cookies were incredible and that I “nailed the cookie texture” which felt like mega praise.
These delightful treats are the epitome of holiday cheer, with their warm and comforting spices that instantly transport you to a cozy winter wonderland. It takes me back to making cookies with my family and eating Moravian ginger spice cookies with my family on Christmas eve.
These soft gingerbread cookies are crafted with love and care, and each bite is packed with amazing flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a total newbie, this recipe is so easy to make and ends with delicious results every time.
Our secret ingredient? Molasses.
This is what adds that rich depth of flavor and keeps these cookies irresistibly soft and chewy. The combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg makes them next level flavorful. So, if you’re looking to impress your family and friends this holiday season, whip up a batch of these ultimate soft gingerbread cookies. Trust me, they won’t last long on the cookie tray!
Key Ingredients Needed for Soft Gingerbread Cookies
Molasses: As I mentioned above, molasses is truly the secret ingredient in soft gingerbread cookies. It gives them their characteristic dark color and makes them soft and chewy, even days later.
Light Brown Sugar: I chose to use light brown sugar because it has some molasses in it (about 3.5% molasses) as well that contributes to an amazing chewy flavor. If you wanted your cookies to be more crunchy, then I would swap for regular granulated sugar. You could also use dark brown sugar (about 6.5% molasses) and I would think you’d end up with a similar cookie, maybe slightly softer.
Ginger: Another key ingredient in flavoring our gingerbread cookies is ginger. I use dried ginger here and opt for a heftier amount than some other recipes I’ve seen, but the flavor is next level—trust me here.
Cinnamon: A must for gingerbread cookies, it gives it that warm spicy flavor we all love.
Nutmeg & Clove: While these are only in the cookies in small amounts, they make such a difference in the depth of flavor than if you were to skip them.
Maple Syrup: Lastly, maple syrup is a must in our glaze, it adds another level of complexity to the flavor and chances are, you have some in your pantry already.
Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Make Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze
Step 1: Make the Dough
First step, you’ll make the dough. A stand mixer is essential to combining the butter and sugar and mixing in all the spices. This dough comes together quickly and easily and smells amazing.
You can also use a hand-mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer. I do highly recommend a stand mixer if you’ve been thinking about it. We use it for making cookies regularly as well as making pizza dough and even shredding chicken—yes, weird hack, but totally works.
Step 2: Roll into Balls & Coat with Sugar
Next, you’ll take clean hands and roll the dough into balls and then have a low bowl with granulated sugar in it. You’ll roll each ball through the sugar. This helps create an amazing exterior on the cookie, as well as gives them such a beautiful sparkle!
My oldest helped me with this, so if you have kids, this is a great step to involve them in! He loved it!
Step 3: Bake & Cool
Next, you’ll bake your cookies! The key is slightly undercooking them. I actually find this to be true with every cookie recipe. They always cook a little more after you take them out of the oven. Removing them at 8-9 minutes will ensure that they have that perfectly chewy interior.
When you pull them out, they’ll be puffy, but as they cool, they flatten out a bit. It’s pretty tempting to not eat one straight out of the oven. Even without the glaze, they’re amzing!
Step 4: Add Glaze & Sprinkles
Once your cookies cool completely, I highly recommend adding this delicious maple cinnamon glaze and a few sprinkles. I like the little crunch the sprinkles add, plus they’re so pretty.
There’s two methods I’ve tried for the frosting. The first is drizzling the icing on with a piping bag. It looks pretty, but is definitely more time-consuming.
The second is dipping one edge of the front of the cookie straight into the frosting. Personally, I found this to be so much easier and you get a little extra glaze which is never bad in my opinion!
Do note that the glaze sets up very quickly, so if you want to add sprinkles, do it immediately after you’ve added the glaze to that cookie.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg large
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses, unsulfured
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- regular sugar for rolling
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 100% pure
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 Tbsp milk, dairy or plant-based
- pinch of salt
- In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together, until smooth.
- Add flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves. Mix until combined.
- Using a spoon, roll dough into small balls, a little smaller than a golf ball. Roll the ball around in the sugar to coat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies on baking sheet, 12 on a sheet. Bake them for 8-10 minute, I find that baking them one sheet at a time works best with my oven.
- Let cookies cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Wait at least an hour until you add glaze.
- Meanwhile, combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl. When cookies are cool, dip half of the cookie into the glaze and immediately add sprinkles before the icing sets.
- Let icing fully set before storing, usually 2 hours.
Tips for Achieving the Perfect Flavor & Texture
Use Blackstrap Molasses
It’s more bitter than other molasses, but it won’t leave your cookies tasting bitter. It gives it depth of flavor and of course that amazing texture too. If you can’t find blackstrap molasses, you can use regular molasses in its place.
Use Light Brown Sugar
The additional molasses content in this sugar variety will add more moisture, flavor and give you the perfect chewy texture you’re looking for.
I recommend cooking them one sheet at a time, and take a peek at them early to see how they’re doing. Every oven is slightly different! You don’t want them to be crispy and browned. They should come out of the oven when they look puffy and dry. As the cool, they’ll slightly flatten.
Let Cool on Baking Sheet
I let my cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. I find that this helps them set for just a second. If you try and move them too early they can rip in half.
Variations and Additions for your Soft Gingerbread Cookies
I personally wouldn’t change anything to the actual cookie recipe here, but you can tweak the glaze if you want, skip it altogether, or opt for some different sprinkles for a different look.
You can also do a drizzle of the glaze instead of dipping, but for that I would recommend a piping bag. I personally found the dipping to be simpler and more straight forward—especially if you plan on baking with your kids.
Serving & Storing Gingerbread Cookies
On the Counter: After your cookies and icing are completely set, you can store them in airtight container for about a week or two—if they last that long.
In the Freezer: You can also freeze your cookies and they’ll stay good for up to 3 months. This is a great option if you bake a ton and aren’t going through them quickly enough. Just pull them out about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan on serving and let come to room temperature on their own (no microwave!).
Best Occasions for Enjoying your Gingerbread Cookies
Personally, the holidays are my favorite time to make these cookies, however, I might find myself making these in the spring and summer because, yes, they’re just that good.
Gifts for Friends & Neighbors
Pack them in cookie sleeves or buy cookie gift boxes and pack them up for friends and family as a fun holiday gift.
Bring to a Cookie Exchange (or Host One)
Such a fun idea for a holiday party—invite 12 people and everyone brings 2 dozen cookies and leaves with 2 of everyone else’s cookies.
Serve as Dessert at Holiday Parties
An obvious choice, but make dessert easy at your next party by making these ahead of time and displaying on a cake stand or beautiful platter.
If you make one cookie this season, make it this one, the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in here make it the perfect Christmas cookie—it’s warm, cozy and so delicious. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!