Before I begin, can we just all agree that everything is better in “mini” form?
Would you like just ONE regular ol’ cookie, or 5 mini-cookies? I’ll take 5 please.
How should we decorate our ONE Gingerbread house? Let’s just each make our own and decorate them however we EACH want to! (And all of the mamas of littles said 🙌 “amen”)
I am so excited to be on my “A” game this year as a mom of 3, entering the holiday season. For those of you ready to leave my page because you can’t stand people who “have it all together”, never. you. fear. I am, by all means, a hot-mess-mom. The fact that I think making homemade gingerbread cookies with my kids is a huge accomplishment, should shed some light onto this.
Anyways…back to my awesomeness… so, last year I was in World Market and I came across an ADORABLE mini gingerbread house cookie cutter by Good Cook. It’s 1 cookie cutter, and it cuts 6 cookies at a time. These 6 little cookies are the pieces for 1 mini gingerbread house. How super cute is that?
I also found mini-cookie cutters (conveniently next to said mini gingerbread house cookie cutter). So I purchased them. And then proceeded to do nothing with them for a year.
So, one year later, and I found myself perusing Pinterest. I was seeing all of the gingerbread cookie recipes pop up, and I remembered, “ah! I have that super cute mini gingerbread house mold!”. And so, in that moment, I decided not to be a failure. Thank you Pinterest.
Online, I found many varied recipes. Some of them required heating molasses, while others required all dry ingredients and then refrigerating. After debating a few different different recipes, I decided on two different ones. I tested one recipe on REGULAR sized Homemade Gingerbread Cookies (I know…how very boring) and another recipe for the Mini Gingerbread Houses and Mini Cookies! (which ended up ADORABLE btw… everything is cuter in mini!).
I did not have the “All Spice” (which was called for in both recipes) nor did I have dry cloves. I did however have OnGuard Essential Oil Blend and Clove Essential oil – and so I made an executive decision to NOT go to the grocery store with three children, and I substituted spices for essential oils and the essential oils worked wonderfully for flavoring both recipes! The results for both recipes were wonderful, however, I did end up with a favorite recipe. I will provide the recipes for both as well as the pros & cons of each mix. You are welcome. (You can hold your applause until the end.)
IF YOU ARE IN A RUSH – SCROLL DOWN FOR MY SUMMARY AT THE END OF WHICH RECIPE TO CHOOSE FOR YOUR SITUATION 🙂
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 5 Drops OnGuard Essential Oil (doTERRA)
- 3 Drops Clove Essential Oil (doTERRA)
- 2 Drops Cinnamon Essential Oil (doTERRA)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- OPTIONAL: Powdered Sugar (for dusting cookies after)
- Using a stand mixer (Flat Beater attachment works best), cream the butter and brown sugar until mixture is fluffy.
- Mix in molasses, egg, essential oils, baking soda, and salt until smooth.
- Add in the flour until well incorporated.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use your preferred cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Lay cut cookies on the prepared baking sheet, 1 to 2 inches apart (this recipe spreads during the baking process).
- If needed, extra dough can be stored in the fridge (wrapped in plastic wrap) for 24 hours.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool cookies on cooling rack for 30 minutes before decorating (if you so desire) OR lightly dust with powder sugar
Recipe #1 “Homemade Gingerbread Cookies (with essential oils!)” Review:
This is a classic recipe with a slightly modern spin (using essential oils to spice and flavor the dough). The consistency and texture of these cookies is thick and firm, very much like you would think of a classic gingerbread cookie. The flavor is lovely. Overall, this is a good recipe.
- Good flavor & texture.
- Dough holds shape well (after refrigerated).
- Can keep dough up to 24 hours in fridge, which is great if you need to prepare the dough ahead of time, and then cut cookies at a later time (example: a gingerbread cooking party, impatient kiddos etc…).
- At minimum, you need an electric mixer for this recipe. Best case scenario, you need a heavy duty mixing bowl with a Flat Beater attachment. I did not try this recipe with just an electric mixer, but I would assume it would be difficult to mix the butter and brown sugar to the creamy consistency, and then add in the flour evenly. Definitely not by hand.
- Cookies expand quite a bit in the oven. Place cookies at least 2 inches apart to avoid conjoining them.
- ⅔ Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
- ⅔ Cup Molasses
- 5 Drops OnGuard
- 3 Drops Clove
- 3 Drops Cinnamon
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (at room temp)
- 1 Large Egg (hand beat/whisk)
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Cups Flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, and ginger in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to boil, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat, and stir in baking soda.
- Stir in butter gradually, stirring well between additions to combine.
- Add egg, vanilla and salt to sugar mixture, stirring to combine.
- Pour into a large bowl and add flour gradually, stirring to combine.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until dough comes together and is no longer sticky, adding flour by the tablespoon if necessary.
- Roll out half the dough on a floured work surface to ⅛-inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Place in oven, and bake for approximately 10 minute (or until edges are slightly browned).
- Remove from heat and allow cookies to cool on sheet or drying rack. If dusting with powdered sugar, do this soon after removing from the oven.
Recipe #2 “Homemade Gingerbread House (with essential oils!)
This recipe was easy to follow (despite most of it being done on the stove top). It ended up being my favorite tasting recipe (the texture of the cookie was slightly softer and slightly sweeter than the first recipe). You can see the rest of the PROS below. The only CON to this recipe is the inability to prep the dough ahead of time.
- The cookies do NOT expand! They are the exact same size going into the oven as they are coming out! This mean you can squeeze more cookies per pan, and it also means that if you are making gingerbread houses, the pieces will fit together MUCH more easily than if they pieces had shifted in size during the baking process.
- Great taste and texture! (they are slightly softer than traditional gingerbread cookies)
- Quick prep time and no refrigeration required prior to rolling out, cutting and baking.
- No electric mixer needed
- Dough does not keep well. If you prep the dough ahead of time and then place it in the refrigerator, it becomes very hard. It will need to sit at room temperature for about an hour before you can begin rolling it out in small amounts. Basically… you cannot prep this ahead of time. Prep, roll, cut and cook all at once.
YOU SHOULD CHOOSE RECIPE #1 IF:
- You have an electric mixer and flat beater attachment
- You want to prep the dough ahead of time to use later (like at a party, class, for a group activity etc…)
- You are making cookies and NOT a gingerbread house (as noted above, this recipe EXPANDS a great deal in the oven, and slight variation in size may occur making it difficult to properly assemble gingerbread cookies).
YOU SHOULD CHOOSE RECIPE #2 IF:
- You do not have an electric mixer and flat beater attachment
- You do not need to prep the dough ahead of time (you must mix, roll, cut and bake all in one shebang)
- You like softer gingerbread that holds it’s shape well, but you still want to eat it eventually! (yum!)
- Overall, this was my favorite recipe and the one I will use in the future
So…that’s all folks! I hope this was helpful!
- 3 Egg Whites
- 3-4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
- doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil
- Beat egg whites and cream of tarter on low
- Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, and beat on medium until you obtain the consistency desired
- *Bonus* Add 1-2 Drops of doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil
Just in case you missed the links above for the COOKIE CUTTERS, you can find the Mini-Gingerbread House cutter HERE and the Mini Cookie Cutters HERE.
I think this would be really fun to make ahead of time and have a “decorate your own” party, or even to use as treats at an essential oils class!
(If you make them, let me know! I’d love to see pictures!)