Gingerbread Cookies ~ All Spruced Up

Gather ’round for a Christmas story: One Christmas Eve, a few gingerbread dudes and dudettes got all spruced up and gathered together to trim the tree. They took “elfies” and posted the pics on Insta under #xmas squad. All were having a jolly time when one gingerbread dude shouted “it’s midnight!” and a gingerbread dudette squealed “OMG! SANTA!” They all jumped into their little gingerbread car and hauled ginger back home to their beds.

You can make this story both tangible and edible with these Holiday Gingerbread Cookies. The best part is, I have even more to offer in this post! We’re having a virtual cookie exchange with my blogger friends, which means you get access to a bunch of amazing cookie recipes and deliciousness in a single post. #VirtualCookieExchange


Let’s start with the gingerbread cookie dough. Spice and everything nice gets loaded in all up in here. Dripping molasses will make you swoon over the Kitchen Aid when this bit of Christmas comes to life.

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating

The recipe for this gingerbread cookie is actually pretty easy, when followed step-by-step. The ginger, all-spice, and cinnamon come together beautifully, then get infused with a good-quality molasses (I used Brer Rabbit).  Molasses is made when cane or beet sugar is processed together – it’s the thing that actually gives your cookie that unmistakable ‘ginger-brown’ hue. Together, the flavors create a fantastic color with an even more phenomenal taste.

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating

Once your gingerbread cookie dough comes together, pop it in the refrigerator to chill before you roll it out.  It will act like most doughs – dust it with flour, and try to keep it chilled.  I often roll it into an oval shape, then I pop it back into the refrigerator to chill for maybe another 10 minutes. It’s that exact process that makes the dough pop out  of each mold just perfectly.

If the dough gets difficult to work with because it’s too warm, back into the fridge it goes for a solid 10 minutes.  Also, an easy trick is to roll it out in-between plastic wrap.  Place the entire disk in-between plastic wrap, start a-rollin’.

The cutouts for gingerbread cookie dudes and dudettes come in all shapes and sizes. My theme is “All Spruced Up.”


Once you master these gingerbread cookies, the decorating is a cinch.  You will need just a few things to get started:

  1. Edible Markers. I used Wilton Food Writers.
  2. Sprinkles. My fave is Fancy Sprinkles.
  3. Fun & sassy sayings. I used…my brain. (well, that and Pinterest, ha!)

`Gingerbread Cookie edible markers


To really get some smiles, use a saying that is personal to your family and Christmas-ize it. My nieces and nephews will eat up the “Elfie” expression and “#Xmas Squad”.  OK, so the car?  Well – my family does live in LA, and we spend an inordinate amount of time in the automobile!

Elfie Gingerbread Cookie

Pick your favorite color food writers and go for it! Don’t forget to add your sprinkles!

Holiday Cookie Bags


I wanted to add gift bags for the dudes and dudettes, and so to keep with my “All Spruced Up” theme I asked my buddy (and artist) Juan Barajas to help me create some designs. We came up with throwback cars and a hashtag, all downloadable to add to DIY gift bags like these from Paper Mart.

Here are PDFs to the designs we came up with – easy to download and print:

All Spruced Up ~ Christmas Bug

Totally Sleighed It ~ Christmas Car

Cookie Cruising_~ Christmas Cruiser


Briefly, I want to tell you about my serendipitous daily coffee run. Steves and I go to Blue Bottle Coffee every morning and indulge before the day gets going. I found the very coolest coffee bag ever that fits our theme of cars topped with a Christmas tree. The coffee is called Oakland Lights, and the name alone brings me back to my previous life living in edgy Oak-town. Great minds think alike, Nor Cal!

Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Gifts

Then I cleaned house at Joann’s and went a little crazy buying those adorable trees. They look sooo cute tied to the cookie gift bags.

Holiday Gingerbread Cookies

Seriously? I am in love with these gingerbread dudes cruising right into the hearts of my dearest friends and family.




Ugly Sweater Gingerbread Cookies – Cathy from What Should I Make For

Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies – Dawn from Girl Heart Food 

Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies – MaryAnn from The Beach House Kitchen

Brandy-Spiked Mexican Hot Chocolate – Tamara from Beyond Mere Sustenance 

Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies – Jennifer from Seasons & Suppers

Lemon Drop Italian Cookies – Annie from Ciao Chow Bambina

Hedgehog Cookies – Alisa from Contemplating Sweets

S’mores Cookies – Giselle from The Busy Spatula

Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Bars – Natasha from Salt & Lavender

Bradshaw Cookies: A Sour Cream Cookie with Cream Cheese Frosting – Megan from Meg is Well 

Gingerbread Cookies - Cars, Trees & Dudes

Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography

Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Gifts
Holiday Gingerbread Cookie Gifts

Gingerbread Cookies

By TheSweetNerd  

December 1, 2018



2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger)

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

Royal Icing

2 pounds confectioners sugar

5 Tablespoons meringue powder

2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 to 3/4 cups warm water


Fancy Sprinkles

Edible Markers



1Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer of medium-high speed until fluffy. 3 to 4. Add egg: mix well. Beat in molasses, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda, and salt. Reduce speed to low, and add flour. 1 cup at a time, mixing just until incorporated. Divide dough into quarters: shape into disks. Wrap each well in plastic; chill 3 hours or up to 1 day.

2Preheat oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using gingerbread-people cutters and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough; roll out scraps as needed. Cut out mini hearts from scraps using a tiny cookie or aspic cutter. Place hearts on shapes, and chill 20 minutes.

3Bake 2 sheets at a time, rotating halfway through until cookies are firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Royal Icing

1Add vanilla flavoring into 1/2 cup water and set aside until step 3.

2In the mixer (paddle attachment), gently mix confectioners sugar and meringue powder on low.

3Add 1/2 cup flavored water and mix on low until it is thick and lumpy.

4Now drizzle the remaining water as needed until it becomes a thick like honey consistency.

5At this point, turn mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes or so until icing is thick and fluffy. Stop when it forms a soft peak.


1Using a piping bag, decorate each cookie with royal icing. Add Fancy sprinkles where desired. On the gingerbread mens' outfits, use edible markers to write any cute slogans you'd like.



  • These dudes and dudettes are definitely invited to my Christmas party!! Too too fun, my friend! Happy holidays!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      6 years ago

      Thanks Annie! Have a wonderful time with your family. Enjoy those italian cookies your pop’s shared. XO

  • Loving all of these, especially the dudes 🙂 So fun, festive and delicious!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      6 years ago

      They are tasty and fun with a sprinkle of silly! Looking forward to 2018 Jenn and enjoying your fabulous recipes.

  • we’re gingerbread buddies today my friend. these are delectable and adorable per usual from you! love the fun decorations!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      6 years ago

      Thanks so much. I love the ‘messaging’ part of this delightful moist cookie. Happiest of Holidays Cathy

  • You always have the most fun, cutest, recipes Cindy!! I laughed out loud with that little #Elfie one 😀

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      6 years ago

      Thanks Dawn. I love eating and laughing! You made my day!

  • So totally adorable Cindy! Nothing better than gingerbread at Christmas. These are so fun for the kids!

  • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
    6 years ago

    Right? Actually, I could think of a particular jalapeno cheese ball recipe that might top this, but shoot I can’t take that to my exchange. I swear that recipe shows up on my table all the time now. Thanks for the love. Congrats on a wonderful year of spectacular recipes.

  • 6 years ago

    Love, love, love! I have always enjoyed gingerbread boys and girls, but these dudes and dudettes are too cute! And edible markers? I never knew… You are so fun and creative! Merry Christmas Cindy!

  • These dudes and dudettes look like they’d be the life of the party, I love them! And I would love to have them with a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee, they’re my favorite!

  • 6 years ago

    SO cute! I love that you can write on them!

  • Anna Ehrlich
    6 years ago

    Love the gingerbread men! Love the packaging too! I’m going to give this recipe a try and can’t wait to share it with friends as well!
    PS thanks for the video which is so helpful for non-artisan’s like me!

  • Susan
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the recipe! You must have read our minds. The kids wanted to make gingerbread cookies last night and I told them we could do it during the week. Now, they’ll be able to make the cutest and coolest ones ever!! xox

  • Kendall
    6 years ago

    I absolutely love the sayings you put on them. My sister and I are already planning on making vegan gingerbread and now I can even decorate them with these ideas. Thanks Cindy!

  • Tessa
    6 years ago

    So cute – I just love this whole package, from the smart little gingerbread people to the car design on the gift bags. Thanks Cindy!

  • Love the decorated bags. Super creative! The cookies are perfectly cut out too, those crisp edges! 🙂 I think these smiling cookies will make anyone smile for the holidays.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    Any cookie that takes “elfies” is a cookie I’m gonna make. And perhaps hang out with.

  • Bee
    6 years ago

    Elfies! Ha, ha! I have all boys in this house and their favorite cookie is a true ginger cookie filled with wonderful molasses and spices. Love that I get ten cookie recipes-bonus! Thank you so much.

  • Rose
    6 years ago

    These adorable gingerbread “people” are so much fun… I am excited that I can be creative while frosting each one of them! I’m sure they’re delish! They will definitely be part of my cookie baking this season! Thanks for sharing your talent!

  • 6 years ago

    Awwww, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gingerbread person dressed in suspenders before. That’s so freaking adorable, I love it. I also love this recipe! Ginger anything cookie is my favorite type of cookie next to chocolate. Because chocolate. Seriously though, amazing job on these cookies!!!

  • I love love these gingerbread cookies. They come to life for Christmas and they look so delicious

  • I love gingerbread! These cookies are classic and super cute!

  • Lorna Soonhee
    6 years ago

    These are so adorable. And I agree – Blue Bottle has the best coffee!!

    • Cindy "TheSweetNerd" Rodriguez
      6 years ago

      Right? Totally agree Lorna!

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