How do you capture the Holiday atmosphere? Well, a big part of it is the aromas. Think about it now – cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and baking treats. Let’s capture that vibe with this vegan recipe for gingerbread cookies. They’re crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle, and perfect for decorating. Read on and you’ll be making the best gingerbread man cookies (or trees, or stars, or snowflakes, or anything) in no time!
Obviously the recipe lists all the ingredients, but there are a few that deserve a special mention.
Spices: should be as fresh as possible – especially the ginger. Old spices lose a lot of their flavor, and that will reduce the gingery “bite” that makes gingerbread cookies special.
Molasses: is used alongside brown sugar because it gives the cookies a soft, chewy texture.
First, cream the vegan butter and sugar together. We used our stand-up mixer, but a regular whisk will do the job. Next, add the rest of the wet ingredients and keep stirring until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly. Now you can add the dry ingredients to the wet and continue blending.
A couple of tips: don’t overmix the recipe ingredients, or your gingerbread cookies will be tough. Stop as soon as they’ve formed a breadcrumb-like texture.
When the dough is mixed, turn it out onto a countertop and knead it into a ball. You can work the dough between sheets of parchment paper or saran wrap to keep your hands clean.
Next, chill the dough for 2-3 hours. You might think this is a waste of time – but it’s essential! Chilling the dough solidifies the fat and dries it out a little bit. As a result, the cookies have a more concentrated flavor and spread less in the oven (important when you’re aiming for a specific shape).
The Smell of Fresh-Baked Cookies
This step is where the fun begins! Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness. Then, start making your shapes. Most people (including us) use cookie cutters to keep things neat. However, you can always freehand some designs if you’re feeling confident. At this point, return your dough to the fridge and chill again for another 15 minutes.
Now let’s bake. Put the cookies in the oven at 375F for 8 minutes. They need to be crisp on the outside but soft in the middle because they will harden as they cool. Take the cookies out of the oven, and then let them cool completely before decorating them. Make sure you have some fun and don’t worry too much about the end result. We can’t all be pastry chefs!
A simple sugar icing works well for decorating cookies. Dissolve 1 cup of confectioners’ or powdered sugar in 1-3 tablespoons of plant milk. Then stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can use vegan food coloring to make this any shade you want. If you need some tips on icing cookies, check out this excellent guide.
How Long will Gingerbread Cookies Keep?
Gingerbread cookies are best within a day of baking them, but they can last another day or two if stored in an airtight container. If you’d like to prepare this recipe ahead, freeze the dough before rolling out and baking. It will keep for at least 1 month.
We hope these vegan gingerbread cookies add some cheer to your Holidays. If you try them, please let us know what you think with a comment and rating. Every bit of feedback helps make The Plant Riot even better.
Place softened vegan butter and dark brown sugar into a bowl and cream ingredients together. We used a stand mixer, but a regular mixing bowl and hand mixer will also work!
Add the blackstrap molasses and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue to mix until the dough is combined and resembles a breadcrumb-like texture. Be sure not to over mix the ingredients, or your gingerbread cookies will be tough.
Turn the dough out onto a flour dusted countertop and form it into a bowl. Wrap in parchment paper or place in an air-tight container. Place the dough in the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Place the chilled dough onto a flour dusted surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch / 6mm thick. If desired, you can work the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and your hands clean!
Cut shapes into the gingerbread dough using cookie cutters, then use a turner to carefully lift up the cut cookie dough and transfer to the lined cookie sheet. Gather up the offcuts, form into a dough ball, and repeat process of rolling out and cutting cookie shapes until all the dough is used.
Place the cookie sheets topped with cookie dough shapes into the fridge to firm up for 10-15 minutes before baking.
Place cookies sheets into the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Try to avoid over-baking the gingerbread cookies as they will turn hard and crunchy.
Allow the gingerbread cookies to cool for around 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling tray.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare the icing by mixing together powdered sugar with plant milk and vanilla extract. Add as much plant milk as needed to achieve the desired icing consistency. We found that around 2 tablespoons was the sweet spot.
Scoop the icing into a piping bag fitted with a narrow tip, or a plastic sandwich bag with a tiny whole cut from one corner.
Pipe patterns onto your gingerbread cookies however you like! Have fun and don’t worry too much about getting your designs perfect! We are far from award winning decorators!
Place the decorated cookies onto a large cooling tray, in a single layer, and allow to set and dry.
Enjoy your gingerbread cookies on the day of baking or store in an airtight container and consumer within two days.
*Use the freshest possible spices for the tastiest gingerbread cookies.
If you’d like to prepare this recipe ahead, freeze the dough before rolling out and baking. It will keep for at least 1 month in the freezer in an airtight container.
Preparation and total time does not include icing and decorating the gingerbread cookies.
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