Recipe: Ginger-less Gingerbread Cookies


My favorite part of the holiday season? All the amazing family food traditions. Whether it’s my great-grandmother’s stuffing recipe or the newest tradition of roasting marshmallows to add to mugs of hot chocolate, this season is full of time spent around the kitchen island pouring over heirloom cookbooks, sharing secrets, and just enjoying each other’s company.

The food tradition that I carry on in my house is gingerbread cookies. All throughout the holiday season, I bake, frost, and share cookies in all shapes and sizes with family, friends, and co-workers. They are easy to make, absolutely beautiful, and are a great idea for homemade gifts or stocking stuffers–plus, you can personalize the gingerbread cookie shape and decorations for whoever you are giving them to!

Another great thing about this recipe? Everyone loves it! What makes these cookies so appealing is that one key ingredient is left out–there is no ginger in these gingerbread cookies! I have found that ground ginger gives a slightly bitter tang to the traditional recipe, which can be a bit too pungent for some people. Without the ginger, these cookies resemble a soft, slightly chewy molasses cookie–same look as traditional gingerbread with a more palate-friendly taste.

Trust me, these will become your holiday go-to cookie once you try them.

It starts with the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, add in flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir thoroughly to combine. Set the bowl aside.











Then gather up all the wet ingredients.They include butter (or you can do one stick of butter and one stick of margarine if you prefer), granulated sugar, an egg, dark corn syrup, molasses, and white vinegar.











In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then, with the mixer on low, add in the egg, the corn syrup, the molasses, and the white vinegar. Beat the wet ingredients together until combined–if the mixture looks slightly curdled, don’t worry (it’s supposed to look like that!). Return the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing until a soft dough forms.











Place the cookie dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into an even disc with your hands–this help with the rolling process later! Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and pop the cookie dough disc into the fridge for about an hour to chill completely. If you don’t want to use the dough immediately, pop the chilled disc into a freezer zip-top bag, label, and place it in the freezer for 2-3 months!











When you’re ready to make cookies, dust a flat surface with flour and roll out the chilled dough disc with a rolling pin until it is about 1/4-inch thin. Then cut out your favorite shapes! I love these bears–they are super cute when decorated! But you can use whatever cookie cutters you have on hand.











Place the cookie shapes onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes– baking time depends on the size and thickness of the cookies. When they are just golden on the bottom, they’re done! 











Let them cool completely on cooling racks before decorating. Then, go wild! I like using royal icing (which dries completely hard) to add all the decorations on my cookies. You can use M&Ms, sprinkles, Neco wafers, or whatever else you have in your pantry. Use your imagination!











All that’s left is to enjoy! I hope you include this cookie recipe during your holiday season–maybe it will become a tradition for your family too!

Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Friday for new recipes!

Ginger-less Gingerbread Cookies

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 20-40 cookies, depending on the size and shape

Serving Size: 1


    For the cookies:
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened--you can substitute out one stick for margarine if you prefer
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of molasses
  • ½ cup of dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • For the royal icing:
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of meringue powder
  • 6 tablespoons of warm water


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  2. In the work bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  4. Add the molasses, dark corn syrup, and vinegar. Mix until combined.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  6. Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a flat disc, wrap up and refrigerate dough for at least one hour.
  7. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, dust a flat surface with flour and roll out the cookie dough until it is about 1/4-inch thin. Using cookie cutters, cut out your favorite shapes and place the cookies onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes, but bake time depends on the size and thickness of the cookies.
  9. Cool cookies for an hour on a cooling rack before frosting with royal icing and/or devouring. Enjoy!
  10. To make royal icing:
  11. Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 10-15 minutes until the frosting is smooth and shiny. Place into zip-top baggies, snip off a corner of the baggie, and frost away!

Nutritional Information:

(1 cookie from a 30-cookie batch) 192 calories | 31gm carbohydrates | 0.75gm fiber | 2gm protein | 6.5gm fat | 4gm saturated fat | 111mg sodium | 22.5mg cholesterol | 1.3mg iron 20mg calcium
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Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

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