Gingerbread cut out cookie recipe for holiday decorating

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Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

My mom has an amazing collection of cookie cutters, both old and new. Most are from long before I was born, some had been my grandmothers, and a few are newer designs that I bought her as gifts.

I always loved the cookie cutter drawer in our kitchen. I associated it with the best holidays of the year, since that’s the only time the cookie cutters came out.

My earliest baking memories are of making Christmas cut-out cookies that we’d then paint with tinted frosting and hang on the tree. We’d nibble away at them over Christmas and finish them off only when the tree came down. By then they were hard, a little stale, and in my memory, delicious.

Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

The tradition has continued with my kids, although the cookies hardly last long enough to even be hung on the tree. Plus we have a big dog.

This gingerbread cookie recipe came with the moose cookie cutter I bought in Maine sometime in the early 1990’s. It was from the Purple Puma Cookie Company. Not sure if they’re still in the business of packaging cookie cutters with recipe cards and spice packets but I was a sucker for their designs.

The recipe didn’t include spices (because they came in a packet) so the spice blend is my own.

Gingerbread cut out cookie recipe

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour (all purpose or whole white)*
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp each, nutmeg, cloves

* This recipe lends itself well to stoneground flour which is more nutritious and flavourful.


  1. In a large bowl mix butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat in egg and molasses.
  3. Add lemon juice.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture.
  5. When flour mixture is fully incorporated gather dough into a ball, cut in half and pat into two disks.
  6. Chill for one hour.

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼” to ½” thick and cut into shapes.
  3. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes.

Simple icing:

  • 2 Tbsp. soft butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk or cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl mash the butter and add about half of the icing sugar. Mash them together for a bit then add 1 Tbsp. of milk and the vanilla. Mix well then add remaining icing sugar and more mild as needed. This icing should be a little runny for easy decorating.


Mix dough until blended well: 

Pat into two disks and chill:

I like to roll mine fairly thin (1/4 inch) so they hold their shape well.

To decorate, make a simple frosting of icing sugar and milk:

Start with 1 cup icing sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk. Mix well and add more icing sugar (or milk) as required to get a spreadable consistency.

17 thoughts on “Gingerbread cut out cookie recipe for holiday decorating

  1. valerie says:

    Are the gingerbread men soft ones or crispy ones?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Valerie — They’re just a little crispy if you roll them thinly (bit not crispy like a gingersnap). But if you keep them thick they’ll be soft.

  2. Lu says:

    what are the silver balls?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi there – the silver balls are little candies. Look for them in the baking section of grocery stores.

      1. Lu says:

        thanks ! merry christmas !!

  3. Tanya says:

    Can you use margarine in place of butter for these cookies, or the shortbread ones? Thx

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Tanya, yes, you can use margarine in place of butter for the gingerbread cookies. You could use it in the shortbread cookies too. The taste will be a bit different but they’ll still turn out. Enjoy!

  4. Dab says:

    Thanks Bridget, I always look forward to your recipes and instructions. I am a better cook for it. Happy Holidays!

    1. Bridget says:

      Wow, thanks for the compliment. Happy Holidays to you too!

  5. dvmahaney says:

    whole wheat four is that a typo error?

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi – the recipe actually has two types of flour, whole wheat and all purpose. Feel free to use all regular flour if you prefer. Thanks for flagging a typo in the flour quantity though. I have corrected it.

  6. dvmahaney says:

    is whole wheat four a typo error??

    1. Bridget Oland says:

      Hi there, No typo, I have always added whole wheat flour (that’s what the original recipe called for).

  7. Nancy Oland says:

    A yummy recipe it brings back such happy memories.

    1. Bridget says:

      Thanks Mom!

    2. Cindy Bergeron says:

      > These remind me of your house at Christmas time Nancy, can’t wait to mix these up and get my babies home from school to decorate.. Yummy!!


      1. Bridget says:

        Hi Cindy, Isn’t it fun how food can bring back so many memories!

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