Gingerbread Star Cookies (Christmas cookie recipe)


Gingerbread Star Cookies are magical cookies perfect for the holiday season. These star cookies have a less spicy gingerbread flavor and are also lightly crisp with soft centers. 

gingerbread star cookies with royal icing.

Gingerbread cookies and star cookies are traditional recipes for the holiday season. Combine them together and you have a delicious cookie, with wonderful flavor in enchanting star shapes.

These star cookies are the perfect consistency (in our opinion). Thick and soft inside with a crisp exterior when they are fully cooled. Some gingerbread is very spicy and very hard. These cookies are gently spicy and not hard but have a nice snap when you bite them.

If you love making gingerbread men or spicy ginger snaps these star cookies will fit right in with your family’s holiday treasures! Add them to your cookie plates. Delicious as is or decorate for an enchanting nod to the night sky.

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Recipe Ingredients Notes

Actual ingredients and quantities listed in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.

gingerbread star cookies labelled ingredients.
  • All purpose flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend can be used. For gluten-free baking we use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 flour blend.
  • Sugar. Both granulated sugar and dark brown sugar are used to give the cookies just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Unsalted butter. Be sure to start with room temperature butter for best results.
  • Spices. Ground ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves gives the cookies a classic gingerbread flavor without being too spicy.
  • Molasses. This also adds sweetness and a signature flavor to the gingerbread cookies. Do not use blackstrap molasses. Use Grandma’s Molasses or a similar brand.
  • Star-shaped cookie cutter. We used a 4-inch star cookie cutter. Any size can be used. See Pro Tips below for variation guidance.
gingerbread star cookies on platter with milk.

How to make it

STEP 1. Dry ingredients

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and salt (photo 1). Whisk together.

gingerbread star cookies recipe steps 1-4.

STEP 2. Make the cookie dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat the together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy (photo 2). NOTE: a hand mixer can also be used but may struggle with the density of the cookie dough.

Add the egg, molasses and oil (photos 3-4). Beat to combine.

Spoon the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed to combine (photo 5). Do not overmix. 

STEP 3. Wrap and Chill

When combined transfer the dough onto plastic wrap and seal forming a dough ball. Flatten it on the top to make it easier to roll out after chilling (photo 6). Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. This dough is great left overnight up to 3 days.

gingerbread star cookies recipe steps 5-8.

STEP 4. Preheat oven

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. NOTE: if reusing the same baking sheet allow to cool before adding a new batch of cookies to bake.

STEP 5. Cut out cookies

On a well floured work surface or silicon mat roll out the cookie dough to 1/4 -inch thick (photo 7). Add a little flour to the rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking. Using a 4-inch star cookie cutter cut out stars from the rolled-out dough (photo 8). Place them onto the prepared baking sheet with an inch in between the cookies (photo 9).

Combine the dough scraps of the remaining dough and roll out to cut more cookies until the dough is all used.

gingerbread star cookies recipe steps 9-10.

STEP 6. Bake

Bake for 9-10 minutes. 

STEP 7. Cool

Remove from the oven and allow cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (photo 10). The cookies will become stronger in flavor and more firm as they cool (but never are super hard).

gingerbread star cookies on platter overhead.

How to Decorate

These cookies are delicious as is but also perfect for decorating. Be sure to start with a fully cooled cookie. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make a simple glaze. If you want to add a glaze without fussy decorating use our glaze from Iced Oatmeal Cookies. You can use food coloring to color the glaze too. After the cookies have fully cooled simply dip the front in the glaze, allow excess to drip off and place them on their back on a wire rack to let the icing set. 
  • Royal Icing. This is a classic way to decorate gingerbread cookies. You can use store bought royal icing or make it yourself. The two standard ways to make it is either royal icing with egg whites or without eggs but using meringue powder (note: I have not made either of these linked recipe however they are highly rated from reliable recipe sources). Once you’ve made the icing place it in a piping bag and create decorations on top of the cookies.
  • Sprinkles. If using royal icing or a glaze you can add sprinkles or other decorative adornments. Allow the icing to fully set to hold the decorations in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use this recipe to make different shapes?

Yes! If the shapes you make are larger than 4-inches you may need to bake them an extra minute or two. If the shapes are smaller than 4 inches reduce the baking time to 8 minutes.

Can I make a combination of sizes of stars?

Yes you can however they will bake for different amounts of time. If making different sizes separate them onto baking sheets all with the same size and adjust the baking time accordingly. This may also change the yield from the dough.

How to Store

Once cookies have fully cooled or are done being decorated store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. If decorated separating layers with parchment paper will keep them in best shape.

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Recipe

gingerbread star cookies crop.

Gingerbread Star Cookies

These lightly spicy Gingerbread Star Cookies are perfect for Christmas cookie plates or anytime you have a gingerbread craving! They cool to have softer centers and a crisp bite without being stiff or too hard.

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Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Chilling time (minimum) + post baking cooling time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Servings: 36 4-inch cookies

Calories: 106kcal

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Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk together.

    3 cups all-purpose flour, 11/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, Pinch kosher salt

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy.NOTE: an electric hand mixer may also be used however the dough becomes thick which may be difficult for a hand mixer.

    1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

  • Add the egg, molasses and oil. Beat to combine.

    1 egg, 1/4 cup molasses, 1/4 cup canola oil

  • Spoon the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed to combine. Do not overmix.

  • When combined, transfer the dough onto plastic wrap and seal forming a dough ball. Flatten it on the top to make it easier to roll out after chilling. Place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. This dough is great left overnight up to 3 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. NOTE: if reusing the same baking sheet allow to cool before adding a new batch of cookies to bake.
  • On a well floured surface or silicon mat roll out the cookie dough to 1/4 -inch thick. Flour the rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking. Using a 4-inch star cookie cutter cut out stars and place them onto the prepared baking sheet with an inch in between the cookies.
  • Combine the dough scraps and roll out to cut more cookies until the dough is all used.

  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  • The cookies can be enjoyed as is or decorate with a simple glaze, royal icing with or without sprinkles and candies.

Notes

Pro Tips
  • Always spoon the flour into the measuring cup – do not scoop. 
  • Start with room temperature butter and egg. 
  • Keep the cookie dough cold for best rolling and cutting. If not cutting all the cookies out at once place the dough back into the refrigerator until cutting out cookies. 
  • Always use cool baking sheets. If reusing the same baking sheet allow it to cool before adding more cut out cookies. 
  • If in a hot or humid area separate the dough into two dough balls. Keep one in in the refrigerator while rolling out and cutting cookies from the first. This will ensure the dough never gets too warm.
How to Store Once cookies have fully cooled or are done being decorated store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. If decorated separating layers with parchment paper will keep them in best shape.

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 0.004mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg


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