Recipe

Christmas gingerbread recipe one bowl recipe Sumikko Star Wars
Our family favourite Christmas gingerbread cookie recipe

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies (Swedish gingersnaps)

Our favourite spiced Christmas gingerbread recipe. An easy one-bowl recipe from my mum to make and share with the whole family.

Every year my mum makes these gingerbread cookies. Their delicious spiced scent always bathes the home in the very essence of Christmas. My mum always manages to make them thin and super crisp. Her collection of cookie cutters are quite traditional shapes and one of my favourites is the little angel because you can bite the wings off first. Now I realise how that sounds but there you go! Memories of childhood are a funny thing.

Christmas gingerbread cookies in Sumikko gurashi and star wars shapes
Very non-traditional Christmas gingerbread cookies

When I moved overseas and found my own need to forge Christmas rituals for the family, I knew that no recipe would compare to my mum’s Christmas gingerbread recipe so I asked her to share it with me.

The origin of this recipe is actually from Ikea! I remember as a child visiting the store and although I have never seen it happen ever again, the store was promoting their brand new outlet with a cooking demo, taste testers and recipe handouts of their famously crisp Swedish gingersnap cookies!

Since then, my mum has tweaked the recipe as the original instructions required 1kg of flour and made a commercial quantity of cookies! Sensibly, my mum halved the quantity and her recipe still produces up to 60 small cookies or less if you want to make those big gingerbread men which are ideal for decorating with icing.

Making Christmas gingerbread with sumikko and star wars cookie cutters
Adding some Christmas details turns a cute cookie into a festive one.
Jar of Christmas cookies with Darth Vader and a santa hat, stars with santa hats
Santa Darth Vader and star Christmas gingerbread cookies

A few tips and words of advice

This gingerbread cookie recipe dough needs to be chilled before you can roll it to use with cookie cutters. It will soften quickly so only work with a small portion at a time and return the rest to the fridge. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, gather the dough back up and throw it into the freezer for a few minutes to harden back up. Because it needs chilling, the dough can also be made days in advance too and kept stored in the fridge until you are ready to bake.

The amount of spice is also up to your preference. It may also reflect the freshness of my spice collection but I tend to want to add a touch more spice in my cookies. I sometimes, probably sacrilegiously also add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom because I just love that spice.

The original Ikea recipe called for treacle but as this seemed more difficult to come by in Australia, my mum usually uses golden syrup. It is also easier for me to buy here in Hong Kong but I bet molasses or treacle would be really earthy and delicious.

Christmas gingerbread cookies in Sumikko Gurashi shapes holding presents and wearing santa hats
Adding a present or hat turns any shape into a festive cookie

When it come to using more detailed cookie cutters like my kids and I own, it helps to have a shallow bowl with some rice flour to dip the cutters into before stamping the shapes out in the dough. The dough is very soft and it can be difficult to avoid tearing them especially when transferring to the baking trays. If you want thin crisp gingersnaps like Ikea sells them, then keep the cookie cutters to the most simple shapes without any intricate stamping. Otherwise, you can make the dough a little thicker like we do but you will get a harder cookie rather than a thin crisp one. We just ensure these thicker cookies are eaten dipped in a cup of hot chocolate or milk. Working with this dough may take a little practice to figure out just which cookie cutters work best but please persist and if all else fails, stick the dough back into the fridge or freezer to firm up, take a few deep breaths and start over again.

What you need

  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110g) golden syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 500g plain flour
  • Assorted cookie cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking trays lined with baking paper/silicon baking mats
  • Rice flour (optional for dusting cookie cutters)
  • Hard candy (optional for stain-glassed cookies)

Instructions

  1. Mix the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a stand mixer or by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the water, spices and baking soda.
  3. Mix in the flour in 2 batches, making sure to incorporate all the flour before adding more.
  4. Knead and work the flour into the dough until it comes together like a soft playdough texture. If it looks very wet or loose, add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
  5. Wrap the dough in the shape of a large log with foil or a reuseable beeswax wrap and chill it in the refridgerator overnight.
  6. When you are ready to bake the gingerbread cookies, preheat the oven to 170 degree (fan-forced) and prepare lined baking trays.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the chilled dough into portions. Work with just one of these portions at the time and keep the rest in the refridgerator.
  8. Roll out the dough to 2mm thickness, cut out cookies in your chosen shape and transfer to baking trays.
  9. Scraps of dough can be use to create Santa hats and gifts to accessorise you cookie shapes and turn them into Christmas themed cookies.
  10. For stain-glassed cookies: chop up hard candy into small fragments. Use two different sized cookie cutters (we had one large star and one smaller star) to firstly cut out a large cookie. Then use the smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centre of the larger cookie and create a ‘window’. Fill this with the fragments of candy. The candy will melt when baked and fill the ‘window’ creating a stain-glass window.
  11. Transfer the trays of cookies to the oven and bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.
  12. Cool on wire racks
  13. The stain-glassed cookies will need to cool and harden on the trays before they can be transferred to the wire rack.
  14. Store in airtight containers to ensure crispness

You should have quite a lot of gingerbread cookies to share with friends, pass around at Christmas time and enjoy for school snacks in the lead up to the holidays. This gingerbread can also be used for building gingerbread houses or to decorate with royal icing for another fun activity to do with the kids. I hope you give these cookies a try and may your homes be lovingly scented with the aroma of your very own swedish gingersnaps aka Christmas gingerbread cookies.

Recipe

Christmas gingerbread cookie recipe one bowl recipe in the shape Sumikko Star Wars
Our family’s favourite Christmas gingerbread cookies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

  • Servings: 60
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

An easy one-bowl recipe for lightly spiced, super crispy Christmas gingerbread cookies. Chill the dough overnight and then roll it out for use with cookie cutters. A fun recipe to make with your kids.

  • Prep the dough the night before you need it.
  • If the dough is too soft, wrap it again and put it back into the freezer to firm back up.
  • Lightly dust the cookie cutters with some rice flour to help prevent sticking to the dough.

Ingredients

  • 100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110g) golden syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 500g plain flour
  • hard candy (optional for stain glass cookies)
  • rice flour (optional to dust cookie cutters)

Directions

  1. The night before baking, mix butter, sugar and golden syrup in the stand mixer or a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add water, spices and baking soda.
  3. Gradually add the flour and knead it into a soft dough.
  4. Bring the dough together into a log, wrap it and chill it in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat oven to 170 degree
  6. Take a portion of chilled dough, roll it out thinly and cut out cookie shapes with lightly dusted cookie cutters.
  7. If making stain-glassed cookies, use a smaller cookie cutter to make a window inside a bigger cookie and fill the hole with crushed candy pieces.
  8. Transfer the cookies onto lined baking trays
  9. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until slightly golden
  10. Cool cookies on wire rack. The stain-glassed cookies need to cool and harden on the trays before transferring them to the rack.
  11. Store cooled cookies in air tight containers.

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