Old-fashioned Gingerbread Sugar Cookies are thick and spicy, soft and chewy, and remind us of childhood celebrations. Always a favorite at Christmas time and Thanksgiving, these old-fashioned cookies are perfect for Alice in Wonderland parties, Onederland first birthday parties, Mad Hatter Tea Parties, baby showers and garden teas! Our family-favorite recipe for gingerbread cookie cutouts, whether it’s gingerbread people, gingerbread snowflakes or gingerbread woodland animals, these are so much fun to bake and decorate together, and just get more perfect over time!
LET'S GET THE PARTY STARTED! PARTY PLANNING INSPIRATION...
When starting to plan a party, I usually hop over to Etsy to see what ideas might be available for party themes. Design My Party Studio and Blue Bunny Printables (both at https://www.etsy.com) provided the inspiration for our "Aria in Onederland" first birthday party. The theme from the invitations provided the color palette for cakes, cupcakes and cookies.
So many other creative items that make party-planning easier are also available on their sites - from invitations, cake toppers and cupcake toppers, welcome posters, party banners, water bottle labels, chocolate bar labels, all the way to thank you notes, are easy to purchase, customize and download.
Once I have a theme decided on, next up is ordering cookie cutters. My favorite cutters come from The Cookiery, Bobbi's Cutters, Killer Zebras, Sweet Pink Olive, Sweet Designs Factory and KaleidaCuts. As soon as my cookie cutters arrive, it's time to start baking!
SECRETS TO MAKING PERFECT SUGAR COOKIES:
To ensure the wonderfully soft sugar cookies of your dreams, you want to roll the dough about ¼-inch thick. This may seem too thick when you are rolling and cutting, but it’s absolutely key if you want perfect sugar cookies for munching and decorating!
If you’ve found your cut-out sugar cookies lose their shape in the past, it could have been due to a few factors (too much butter in the recipe, dough too warm, dough not rolled thick enough, etc.), but I can tell you that this recipe yields absolutely beautiful edges that do not spread if you take care to roll to the appropriate thickness (if rolled too thin then they can spread) and chill the cut-out dough before baking.
FOR PERFECT SUGAR COOKIES, ALWAYS START WITH THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS:
For gourmet sugar cookies, cupcakes, cakes and brownies, only the best ingredients will give you the texture, richness and depth of flavor we all crave. Make sure to use fresh ingredients for the best results! I’ve made so many cakes, cookies and brownies through the years, and these are my recommendations:
EASY SUGAR COOKIE TIPS & TRICKS THAT REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
ARE SUGAR COOKIES THE STAR OF THE SHOW, OR IS IT ALL ABOUT THE CAKE?
For a first birthday party, the smash cake usually is the most remembered event - and the most photographed! For my specialty cookies, many times I will use a birthday plaque cookie as part of the decoration on the smash cake.
Sweet Whipped Cream Frosting is my frosting of choice for smash cakes, and the recipe I’ve used for all of my kiddo’s first birthday cakes. We really limited their sugar intake before their first birthday, so this delightfully creamy whipped cream cake frosting was their first taste of sweet bliss! This stabilized whipped cream and cream cheese frosting glides on Traditional Angel Food Cake, and pipes like a dream, and its light and fluffy texture makes for great “Smash Cake” photos!
DECORATING IS SIMPLE WITH ROYAL ICING IF YOU KEEP THIS IN MIND:
TIPS & TRICKS FOR AIRBRUSHING COOKIES:
MAD HATTER TEA PARTY? DON'T BE LATE FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE!
Mad Hatter Tea Party Sugar Cookies are a must for an Alice in Wonderland theme as well! These thick and tender cookies are also perfect for an Alice in Onederland birthday party, baby shower, tea party or garden party.
3 and 1/2 cups (437g) all-purpose flour (sifted, spooned & leveled)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
10 Tablespoons (2/3 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
2/3 cup (200g) molasses (I use Grandma's Molasses brand)
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
EASY ROYAL ICING:
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
10-12 tablespoons water (room temperature)
1 teaspoon corn syrup
AmeriColor Soft Gel Food Coloring (strongly recommended!)
FOR DECORATING: Holiday Sprinkles and Sparkling Sugar (both optional)
HOW I MAKE THESE:
YIELD: Makes 24 (four-inch) cookies.
NOTES: These cookies will stay fresh in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: Plain baked cookies freeze well up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before decorating.
TO KEEP THESE COOKIES SOFT: I keep a slice of sandwich bread in the container to keep the cookies soft – replace every day or so, as soon as the slice of bread dries out. It’s a sweet little trick! These cookies will stay fresh in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Original recipe by Snowflakes & Coffeecakes; revised and republished in March 2022.
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