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Basic Gingerbread Cookies

  • Yield: Makes about 24 6-inch gingerbread people
Basic Gingerbread Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2003


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • Currants
  • Lemon Royal Icing


  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide dough in thirds, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats (a French nonstick baking mat). Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut into gingerbread people shapes. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.

  4. Cut out desired decorations and place on cookies. Press currants into dough to create eyes and buttons. To create hair, roll a piece of dough into a ball and pass through a clean garlic press. Attach hair to heads. Bake until crisp, but not darkened for about 20 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks.

  5. Decorate with royal icing.


May cut into 16 large cookies of various shapes and made without currants.

Cook's Note

When making very large cookies, use two spatulas to transfer cutout dough to baking sheets, or roll dough directly onto the baking sheet. Press cutter into the dough, and remove the excess before taking away the cutter.

Reviews (14)

  • winterpowell 24 Dec, 2011

    Love this recipe. Easy to follow and my friends and family love them. Thank you, Martha.

  • lanachristine 12 Dec, 2011

    Wonderfully excellent cookies from start to finish. Thank you for a receipe that actually tastes like it looks!

  • Deruta 11 Jan, 2011

    PLEASE tell us how to find the templates for these adorable cookies! I love the girl's dress with pockets!

  • dragonheart 8 Dec, 2010

    Yeah the link that the one person put up was of no use. I am also looking for the link to the templates, please put back

  • LisainVegas 26 Nov, 2010

    I found the template link, I can't wait to try these.

  • Svenske 17 Nov, 2009

    This recipe has a great taste. Mine were cute and a HUGE HIT. To those whose cookies burned and thought it was the fault of the recipe: 1. Place cookies in preheated oven; 2. Set timer for 5 minutes less than suggested; 3. When timer goes off, check cookies; 4. If they need more time, leave in oven and check again in another few minutes until done. And, if your taste buds are sensitive to salt, add less (you can always add more). And congrats on your first attempt at baking cookies! Keep trying!

  • karolr41 9 Dec, 2008

    i baked these today and they taste a little bit salty... i wanna know what can i do... i reserved 2 third of the dough so i could fix them but i don't know... and the baking time is totally wrong they actually burned after 15 minutes... i need some help please cause i love gingerbread cookies but these oner were sooo wrong =(

  • adelenne 2 Dec, 2008

    One stick of butter is 125gms.

  • katherine1971 18 Nov, 2008

    A half pound is about 227 grams. Volume-wise, two sticks equals about 1 cup (237 mL).

  • katherine1971 18 Nov, 2008

    A half pound is about 227 grams. Volume-wise, two sticks equals about 1 cup (237 mL).

  • JenneBC 27 Sep, 2008

    We don'tr use 'sticks' of butter here in Canada or pounds for that matter, what would the measurement be in cups??

  • Gus-Gus 12 Jul, 2008

    Be careful with the cook time! My first tray scorched and they were only in the oven for 15 minutes. To be fair, I may have rolled the dough out a little thinner than 1/8 inch, I didn't measure. Once I figured out the right cook time, though, (8-10 minutes) they were delicious! The icing complemented the spices of the cookies very nicely as well.

  • acerkc 27 Dec, 2007

    I made these last night, and they tasted terrible! The cook times were wrong and they tasted too strongly of spice with very little 'cookie" taste. I expected much more from Martha Stewart than this waste of time.

  • simply_ash 16 Dec, 2007

    Whatever happened to the 'templates' link? It used to be in Step 4 of the Directions.
    I love making gingerbread cookies, it's a tradition of mine. The decorating is my favorite part !!
    It would be great if you could add back the link :)


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