These crispy homemade gingerbread ornaments taste delicious and look gorgeous when hung on your Christmas tree.  These spicy cutout cookies are perfect for kids to decorate and eat!

Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
plate of gingerbread cookie ornaments
Christmas, Cookies, Desserts Under 300 Calories

Edible Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

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This recipe was originally published on December 22, 2017.

Can you get more classic than a gingerbread cookie at Christmas?  There’s something festive about the rich spices and dark molasses in these delightful cookies that everyone always loves.  These delightfully tasty cookies are made into beautiful ornaments that you can eat or hang on your tree.

person hanging an ornament on a tree branch

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Should gingerbread cookies be hard or soft?

If you’re making gingerbread cookies into ornaments, the cookies should be hard.  This will give them more support when they’re hanging on the Christmas tree.  If you’re baking cookies just to eat, you can make them hard or soft, whichever is your preference.

How do you know when gingerbread cookies are done?

Gingerbread cookies are baked when the edges are set.  For a crisper cookie, make sure you can see a slight darkening around the edges.  Watch out for dark brown edges or bottoms; that means that the cookie is burnt.

Will gingerbread cookies harden as they cool?

Yes, gingerbread cookies harden quite a bit as they cool.  Even well-baked gingerbread is soft when it comes out of the oven, so be careful not to overbake the gingerbread.

person holding a plate of gingerbread cookie ornaments

How long do gingerbread cookies last?

Gingerbread cookies will last for up to a couple of weeks.  If you’re using these cookies just for eating, keep them sealed in a metal cookie tin to keep them crisp.  You can also freeze the cookies for up to 1 month.

How do you keep gingerbread cookies fresh?

To keep gingerbread cookies fresh, you’ll need to keep them covered and in a cool, dry place.  If you’re using these cookies as ornaments but plan to eat them a few weeks later, keep in mind that they will not taste as fresh.

Do not put other cookies in the same tin with the gingerbread.  Gingerbread can absorb flavors and odors from other cookies, and will also soften in the presence of soft or chewy cookies.

  • For crisp gingerbread, like these ornaments, layer the cookies in a metal cookie tin for up to a week.  Separate layers of decorated cookies with a piece of wax paper or parchment.
  • For soft gingerbread, layer the cookies in a plastic container or on a plate tightly covered with plastic wrap.  Separate layers of decorated cookies with wax paper or parchment.

people picking up gingerbread cookies from a plate

Do gingerbread cookies freeze well?

Yes, gingerbread cookies freeze very well and can be frozen for up to 1 month.  I’d recommend freezing these cookies before they’re decorated, because the icing may get damaged from bumping against other cookies.  Thaw the cookies at room temperature for at least half an hour before decorating.

Tying Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

  • Be sure to make a large hole in the cookie with a straw before it’s baked.
  • After the cookie is baked and cooled, decorate it as desired with icing.
  • Once the icing has set, make the hole in the cookie larger with a metal skewer if needed.
  • Thread a piece of ribbon, string, or yarn through the hole and tie tightly.
  • Hang the ornament on your tree or garlands as a decoration.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

Gather the ingredients for the gingerbread cookie dough.  You’ll need all-purpose flour, brown sugar, unsalted butter, molasses, an egg, coffee, baking soda, and spices.

ingredients for gingerbread cookie ornaments

Whisk together the flour, spices, and baking soda until well mixed.

whisking a bowl of flour and spices

Beat the softened butter and light brown sugar with a mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute on medium-high speed.

creamed butter and sugar in a mixing bowl

Pour in the molasses, coffee, and egg.  Be sure to add a few spoonfuls of the flour along with these wet ingredients to prevent the batter from curdling.

creamed butter and sugar with egg and molasses mixed in

Mix in the remaining flour mixture in three additions.  Be sure to have the mixer on low speed, and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to get an even mix.

bowl of gingerbread cookie dough

Divide the dough into three discs and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.  Chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

three discs of gingerbread cookie dough wrapped in plastic

Roll the dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the work surface or the rolling pin.

rolling out the gingerbread cookie dough

Cut out the cookies with your desired cookie cutters and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  Be sure to space the cookies apart, as they will puff up in the oven. 

If you’re making these cookies into ornaments, be sure to punch a hole in each cookie with a straw.  Make the hole bigger than you think it needs to be, as it will shrink when the cookies grow in the oven.

cutting holes in the gingerbread cookies with a straw

Bake the cookies one pan at a time at 350 F until the edges are set and slightly darkened, about 10 minutes per tray.  Meanwhile, sift some icing sugar into a mixing bowl.

sifting icing sugar into a mixing bowl

Stir in enough water to create a thick but pipeable icing.

white icing for decorating gingerbread cookies

Spoon the icing into the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, twist the top, and snip a little bit of the corner to create a mini piping bag.  Decorate the cookies as desired with the white icing.

decorated gingerbread cookie ornaments on a wire rack

Let the icing set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

closeup of gingerbread cookie ornaments on a plate

Pro Tips

  • Don’t overmix the cookie dough, or it will be tough.  Mix long enough to make sure the ingredients are well combined, then stop.
  • Is your cookie dough super sticky?  Mix in an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour (30-60g).
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour.  Otherwise, the dough will be far too sticky to roll out.
  • Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment.  This will keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin or work surface.
  • Be careful not to underbake the cookies.  They do need to be crispy and not soft and bendy.  The edges should be set and slightly darkened.
  • Make the cookies ahead of time.  Freeze the undecorated cookies, thaw, decorate, and use as ornaments.

gingerbread cookie ornaments on a plate

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools

Enjoy the delicious flavors of these Christmas desserts.

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  • Gingerbread Bundt Cake: this beautiful cake is easy to make and tastes just like gingerbread!
  • Mincemeat Tarts: these British tarts are filled with juicy, fruity mincemeat and flaky pastry.
  • Cardamom Snaps: these moist molasses cookies have the wonderful flavor of cardamom.

The pleasure of a 5-star review for these gingerbread cookies would be greatly appreciated.

Print
plate of gingerbread cookie ornaments

Edible Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 55 cookies 1x

Description

These crispy homemade gingerbread ornaments taste delicious and look gorgeous when hung on your Christmas tree.  These spicy cutout cookies are perfect for kids to decorate and eat!


Scale

Ingredients

For the Cookie Dough

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (175g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (100g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup molasses (220g)
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee, cooled (30 ml)

For the Icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted (120g)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions

Making the Cookie Dough (30 min + 1 hr chilling)

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices and set aside.
  2. Put the butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth.  Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg, molasses, coffee, and two large spoonfuls of the flour mixture and beat until well blended.
  4. Mix in the flour on medium-low speed in three additions, being careful to blend all the ingredients thoroughly without overmixing.
  5. Split the dough into three equal discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Chill for a minimum of 1 hour.

Rolling & Cutting the Cookies (45 min)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line two 11 by 17-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut two large pieces of parchment paper and lay them on a clean work surface.  Dust one with flour.
  3. Unwrap one of the dough disks, leaving the others in the fridge.  Place it on the floured parchment and put the other piece of parchment on top.  Roll out the gingerbread dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut out the cookies with a cutter or paper template.
  4. Transfer the cookies to the prepared trays and repeat with the remaining dough.  You will probably have enough cookies to fill about 4 trays, so just reuse the 2 trays after the cookies have baked.

Baking the Cookies (10 min per tray)

  1. Bake each tray one at a time in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes.  For crisp cookies, they should be set in the middle and firm around the edges with only a hint of darkening around the edges.  For soft cookies, bake until the edges are set, but not browned.  Keep in mind that the cookies will harden up as they cool.
  2. Transfer the baked cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Decorating the Cookies (30 min)

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and gradually stir the filtered water a few drops at a time, until the icing is a thick but pipeable consistency.
  2. Spoon the icing into the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, twist the top, and snip off the corner to make a piping bag.  Pipe the icing onto the gingerbread cookies as desired.  Let the icing harden for 15 minutes before eating.
  3. If making into ornaments, let the icing harden for a few hours.  If necessary, enlarge the hole in the cookie with a metal skewer before threading a ribbon, string, or yarn through.  Hang the ornaments on your tree or garlands.

Notes

  • Make this recipe perfectly the first time.  Check out the step-by-step photos and pro tips before the recipe card.
  • The pleasure of a 5-star review for this gingerbread cookie ornaments recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Want to see our latest recipes?  Subscribe to our email newsletter to get our latest recipes, fun food facts, food puns, and behind the scenes news about our blog.
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gingerbread cookies, gingerbread cookie ornaments

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4 thoughts on “Edible Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

  1. The gingerbread is slightly soft, but still crisp. It crumbles a bit when you take your first bite out of it. It made my mouth water with the smell of the cookies baking! The cooled coffee in the dough adds a hint of coffee, too. ☕

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