Pretend Gingerbread Cookies

yummy munchkinsI love gingerbread cookies. Well, the way they look anyway. The way they taste? Not so much. So I decided to fake it.

Here is a recipe for super yummy sugar cookies, masquerading as little gingerbread boys and girls. I’ve also included a recipe for the kind of icing that dries hard. There is nothing more annoying than spending a gazillion hours making sugar cookies only to have your halfway decent decorating job ruined as you stack them on a plate!

Pretend Gingerbread Cookies

1½ cups butter (unsalted, softened)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves

brown food coloring
powdered sugar for rolling

Cream together the butter and the sugar until the mixture is light in color. Beat in the eggs one at a time and add vanilla. Stir together the dry ingredients and gradually add until just incorporated. Add food coloring until you reach the desired color.

Separate the dough into three parts. Shape dough into discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough using powdered sugar instead of flour (this is important). I roll my cookies out pretty thin, about ¼ inch, because they will puff up in the oven, but you could make them thicker if you like your cookies really fat. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 400°F for 6 minutes. (If you made them thicker, add 1 or 2 minutes to your baking time.) Immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool; if you let them cool on the cookie sheet they will be difficult to remove without breaking.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Royal Icing

1 egg white
2 cups powdered sugar
½ lemon, sqeezed
¼ teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg white until stiff but not dry. Add remaining ingredients. Either use immediately or cover unused portion (press plastic wrap onto surface to avoid the top getting all crunchy) and refrigerate.


  • You can adapt this recipe to make really great sugar cookies, too. Just swap out the cinnamon and cloves for 1 teaspoon almond extract. Yum!
  • If you are using a pastry bag to pipe on icing, I’ve found it works well to store the bag of icing in the refrigerator resting in a tall glass with a damp paper towel at the bottom of it. If the bottom of the tip gets clogged, you can use a toothpick to unclog it.
  • The icing recipe makes plenty if you’re making one or two colors or using the icing as an accent. If you want to make several colors and plan on frosting every cookie, however, you should double the recipe.

4 thoughts on “Pretend Gingerbread Cookies”

    1. Hooray! Check you out, queen of domestic bliss. Once we get over our bug situation, let’s hang out before you have to go back to work!

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