Decorating Tips for Gingerbread Cookies
Have some fun this season by creating elaborately decorated cutouts or using these tips to make your simple cookies stand out.
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Refrigerate your dough
Patience is the key to making the ultimate gingerbread cookie! Gingerbread dough can be notoriously sticky, so let it rest at least 30 minutes (if not an hour) in the fridge before you start rolling it out.
Head to our ultimate guide to gingerbread for more great tips.
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Don’t be afraid of flour
Even if you let your dough rest, it still might be a bit on the sticky side. Don’t be afraid to dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour to keep your cookie making frustration-free. This recipe even suggests dusting the cookie cutter with flour, too.
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Speaking of cookie cutters…
You could absolutely leave your gingerbread cookies round and classic. They’ll taste delicious and be an easy, no-fuss way to bake this season. But who doesn’t love biting the head off of a happy gingerbread man cutout ($6)? Or, better yet, have some fun with these funky cookie cutter shapes!
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Use parchment paper to make life easier
My least favorite part of using cookie cutters is transferring the shapes to the baking sheet without stretching them out. Make your life easier by rolling the dough directly on a piece of confectioners’ sugar-dusted parchment paper. Use the cutter to create the shapes and remove the excess dough. Then, slide the parchment onto the baking sheet and bake away!
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More patience required…
It’s starting to feel like cookie making requires a lot of patience! Before you start decorating your gingerbread cookies, do yourself a favor and let them cool completely. Otherwise, the icing will melt as you apply it, creating smudges and smears on the finished product.
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Keep things simple
If you don’t want to go all-out with the icing, keep things simple by preparing a confectioners’ sugar glaze. You can combine the sugar with milk for a simple flavor profile, or use the icing in this Iced Orange Cookies recipe to give your gingerbread men a boost of tangy flavor.
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Or, go more complicated!
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your homemade cookies decorated to the max with royal icing. This type of icing is surprisingly simple to make, and it will really take your gingerbread men to the next level. Have some fun with food coloring to create festive red-and-green patterns on your cookies!
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Have fun with decorations
In addition to icing, throw on some sprinkles and nonpareils before the icing dries. If you need inspiration, we’d recommend the winter wonderland mix, white pearls, or gold sprinkles from this must-have Christmas sprinkle list.
Shutterstock / Anastasia_Panait
The best storage methods
Did you know you can freeze undecorated gingerbread cookies for up to four weeks? So make a double batch and have back-ups in the freezer for when you run out. Decorated gingerbread cookies will last up to two weeks in an airtight container, but make sure you let them rest (uncovered) for 2 hours to let the icing dry. If you’re worried about them sticking together, layer the cookies between wax paper. Be sure to check out our favorite cookie tins for gifting!