December 16, 2008

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

by IsaChandra

Gingerbread from back in the day

What a difference 4 years makes. When Terry and I made these Gingerbread Punks for a lost episode of Post Punk Kitchen, we seemed to have all the time in the world to mix colors, make leopard spots and paint on fishnets. And, apparently, we didn’t know how to turn off the flash on our camera. My kitchen was so tiny we had to roll the cookies out on the coffee table and balance bowls of neon icing in precarious ways; sometimes on a stack of books, sometimes on a cat – we made do. When I was moving to Portland I actually found one of these cookies in the back of one of my cabinets.

Now we’re 3,000 miles apart, we have dishwashers and counterspace and I can barely muster up a couple of dots for my little gingerbread bread eyes. But whether you’re going all out or part of the gingerbread minimalist movement, this recipe is a surefire winner that will have you singing Christmas carols under your breath and then looking around to make sure no one heard you.

Modern minimalist gingerbread guys

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
Makes about 16 cookies (depending on the size of your cutters)

1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain soymilk

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of both)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

spice blend:
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

Directions
In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and soymilk. The molasses and soymilk won’t really blend with the oil but that’s ok.

Sift in all of the other dry ingredients, mixing about half way through. When all of the dry ingredients are added, mix until a stiff dough is formed. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or up to 3 days in advance. If you chill longer than an hour you may want to let it sit for 10 minutes to warm up a bit before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and use a thin spatula to gently place on cookie sheets. If you are using them to decorate a tree or something, remember to punch a hole in their heads (!) before baking. Bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cool before icing.



  • December 16, 2008 at 7:56 pm: bex

    Oh this is perfect. I needed a good gingerbread cut out recipe and I was worried I didn’t have time to sift through my books to find one (I have one day to do everything I’m going to do for the holidays, I need to find another job). Thanks for that!
    I love the punk g-bread. I need to make these for our new buds at the vegan cafe. They will totally appreciate. You have saved me again.

  • December 16, 2008 at 8:04 pm: denny

    omgz how cute are the old ones and how faaaaancy the new ones are…

    okay i might just attempt to bake these!

    thanks hun!

  • December 16, 2008 at 8:12 pm: mel

    Just look at their bougie little smiles! Post-punk, indeed.

    Sell out! (I mean that with love.)

  • December 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm: Vegan Dad

    Vegan gingerbread or modern art commentary?

  • December 16, 2008 at 8:18 pm: Jill

    Aw, this brings back fond memories for me too! I used this recipe to make gingerbread b-girls, with neon legwarmers and headbands and everything. And I too have moved away from the friends I did that with/for.

  • December 16, 2008 at 8:24 pm: Cherie

    I like the minimalist ones as well as the punk! Different times in your life you’ll want different things. All that matters is that you are happy where you’re at and you seem to be. :)

  • December 16, 2008 at 9:24 pm: Melisser

    Ha! I am in love with the punks! too cool.

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:04 pm: Nicole

    Minimalist or punk gingerbread, these are super :D

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm: Ricki

    I just keep staring at those fishnets. . . too cool!

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:25 pm: Mel B.

    This is my first year making vegan gingerbread and I literally just looked this recipe up this morning and baked them a few hours ago. I sneaked (ok, no one was around, not really sneaking) a bite of both the unbaked and baked dough from a broken cookie and oh goodness, it’s delicious – not too crispy, not too chewy, brilliant level of spiciness. Thank you!

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:38 pm: Kimberly

    These look like so much fun to make (I haven’t gingerbread peeps since I was a little kid). Now I just need to figure out the icing: I’m guessing icing sugar and vanilla soy milk?

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:56 pm: River (Wing-it vegan)

    I love the punks!! Balancing bowls of neon icing on a cat sounds tricky! :P

  • December 16, 2008 at 10:57 pm: Liz?

    oh geez, do I ever know that whole humming carols and looking ’round for spectators thing… I love some of them, don’t tell!

    these are also my favourite cookie recipe on the whole ppk! I’ve made them so much, it’s the spice and the chew and how easy they are. especially when you don’t decorate.
    (I decorated them drunk once, though, which was pretty easy. :D)

  • December 16, 2008 at 11:53 pm: Cynthia

    Gee, Isa — do you live in Portland now? Do you ever teach classes there? I’d make a trip up to take one of your classes!

  • December 17, 2008 at 12:20 am: Gina

    I do love gingerbread! While both are cute, I think I actually prefer the minimalist approach!

  • December 17, 2008 at 2:30 am: Doody

    Ha I love that you posted this – I randomly found the original post the other day and made them that night! But, because of the exact same countertop space issues due to living in NYC (meaning: none at all) I couldn’t really roll out the dough. Instead, I just flattened them into circles with my fingers. They turned out great! My hub and I ate them as each batch came out of the oven. Shameful. But so worth it.

  • December 17, 2008 at 3:51 am: Vegetation

    Woo Hoo! I’ve been looking for a good gingerbread recipe to make with the kids in a few days for the holidays (I believe I am crazy). This post has saved me from my frantic searching, yum!

  • December 17, 2008 at 9:49 am: val

    these are awesome. i’ve made them the last three years. actually they’re the reason i found the ppk to begin with. loves these cookies!

  • December 17, 2008 at 9:53 am: Angela

    Wow, those first guys are a bit in ya face scary but I likes em…wonderful creations!

  • December 17, 2008 at 11:15 am: Crystal

    Oh jeez, thee look flawless, and rather adoreable,I must add.
    Looks like I’m not done with Christmas baking after all.

  • December 17, 2008 at 12:40 pm: Janelle

    Do you have a good recipe for cutout sugar cookies? My son is allergic to egg and we rely on many of your recipes for egg-free versions of family favorites. I’ve tried a couple other cutout cookie vegan recipes, but they were terrible. Yours have a much better track record!

  • December 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm: DJ Karma

    This is the only time of the year I really get into the Martha Stewart thing- these cookies are TOO cute!

  • December 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm: Harmony

    i love this recipe.

  • December 17, 2008 at 6:49 pm: Kimber

    I just happened to make these yesterday from the previous post and they turned out perfect. My icing was more of a glaze, and that is my minimalist contribution.

  • December 17, 2008 at 9:01 pm: Ashley

    Dude, I made this with my friend a week ago for a cabaret we were helping out in, but because we’re college students without kitchens, we also had no rolling pins or cookie cutters, so we just made them into disks. I ate like 3 fresh out of the oven. Someone else obviously liked them too because they were all gone when we went to pick up or leftovers.

  • December 17, 2008 at 10:02 pm: laura b

    How well should this dough freeze? I bet with some added soymilk it’ll stay well but I don’t want to ruin a batch!

  • December 18, 2008 at 1:49 am: Anonymous

    Isa! I made these and I didn’t even have to add any extra flour! They are yummy.

  • December 18, 2008 at 7:50 am: Bratwa

    Isa! This is my first post here, so I must first thank you for all the amazing recipes that you brought into our lives through your books and blog.
    Question: Could you post a recipe for the icing?

    Thank you!!!

  • December 18, 2008 at 10:10 am: Jeni Treehugger

    Thanks for the recipe – damn I need to get me a Gingerbread Cookie cutter!!
    Those punks are just awesome!!

  • December 18, 2008 at 1:30 pm: Terry

    Somewhere Isa has a pic of our own personal gingerbread avatars that were part of this gingerpunk crew. Good times for sure.

    Where did we get all the decorating energy from? Like seriously I can barely tear off a piece of parchment paper to slap on a cookie sheet these days.

  • December 18, 2008 at 2:47 pm: Mihl

    Cute punks! I wish the episode wasn’t lost. (I wish for new episodes all the time.)

  • December 19, 2008 at 12:12 am: IsaChandra

    Re: the icing question – If you just want to get enough to make eyes and mouths and maybe a few buttons, then use 1/2 a cup of confectioners sugar and mix in 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk. Don’t even both with vanilla because it’s such a scant amount it won’t matter. Mix really well with a fork until it’s pasty, then add 1/2 a teaspoon milk at a time until it’s a bit thicker than toothpaste, usually I need maybe 1 1/2 more teaspoons, but since confectioner sugars vary it’s best to start small.

  • December 19, 2008 at 5:49 pm: Mandee

    This will always be my go-to gingerbread cookie recipe, it even works gluten-freeeee!

  • December 20, 2008 at 5:44 pm: Fanny

    oh my I had to try this as soon as I saw it here. It was super easy and sooooo delicious! My negihbour got one and he said it was one of the best he had ever tried!

  • December 20, 2008 at 7:25 pm: Lacey

    I never really post here (or anywhere else for that matter) but wanted to let you know how much I love these cookies. I’ve made them several Christmases in a row and always get raves. For those who are allergic to soy milk, I use regular and it works just fine. (Obviously, it’s no longer vegan.)

  • December 21, 2008 at 2:01 pm: Natazria

    These tasted brilliant but the crunch was too much for my family! So in other words, these were a little too hard, any idea where I went wrong/can improve?

  • December 21, 2008 at 2:33 pm: Dayna

    Oh man! Both of those are so so so cute. Thanks for the recipe – I am making cookies for my fiancee’s family and I think these will be perfect!

  • December 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm: Sue in NJ

    I’m another one that just made these today. I tried rolling them out but it was impossible to transfer from the silpat to the parchment-lined baking sheet – they either got squished or fell apart no matter what spatula I tried using. So I just made rounds and pressed them flat – no biggie. I think next time they have to chill a bit longer than the hour I gave them.

    I popped 2 pans in the oven at the same time. The first pan got brown around the edges after about 10 minutes so I removed them, but the others didn’t start to brown until almost 16 minutes. The first pan cooled to a soft cookie, just the way I love them, and the second pan cooled to a crispy cookie, the way my son loves them.

    These are definitely our new favorite cookie! Thanks, Isa!

  • December 21, 2008 at 4:29 pm: Sue in NJ

    Whoops, just noticed the blog post says “we” made them, so thanks go to Terry, too. Sorry about that.

  • December 21, 2008 at 11:32 pm: IsaChandra

    Natazria, it’s possible your oven was running hot and they were baked for a bit too long. I would suggest getting an oven thermometer if you don’t already have one, or just baking them for a minute or two less.

  • December 22, 2008 at 4:18 pm: Katie

    I brought in a batch of these to work today and 3 people asked for the recipe. Hoping this will trigger some new ppk readers and bakers!

  • December 22, 2008 at 6:41 pm: Anonymous

    sooooo cute!!

  • December 25, 2008 at 1:15 am: Natazria

    Ha funny you should mention that! I baked them for 7 minutes at 350…oh well, second time’s the charm

  • December 26, 2008 at 1:42 pm: Cassandra

    I am so impressed by your punk cookies!

    I just wanted to let you know I got Veganomicon for Christmas—it was the best present! I want to make EVERYTHING in there! It’s like the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for vegans—meaning it has so many recipes that should be considered classics!

  • December 27, 2008 at 12:14 pm: Ed

    These look so cute! What’s a good vegan royal icing recipe?

  • December 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm: Prairie Chick

    I made these cookies right after I read your blog post. It wasn’t until I rolled out the dough that I realized I didn’t have a ginger bread cookie cutter. Instead I used a xmas tree and a star. They turned out great. Thanks for sharing.

    Daneen

  • December 29, 2008 at 1:34 am: claudine

    Aww, those cookies were how I first found the ppk. The original post shows up pretty high when you’re searching the Internets for vegan gingerbread.

  • January 12, 2009 at 6:26 am: outofafrica

    I guess the little punk gingerbread kids grew up and joined middle class suburbia lol.

    I want to make these this weekend! Wonder if I’ll have the patience to decorate them…

  • January 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm: Vegan Eating Out

    I wouldn’t want to cross the one in the middle in an alley.

  • January 14, 2009 at 6:25 pm: Katie

    I made these last weekend. They were delicious, but my decorating skills need some improvement.

  • January 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm: Alicia

    I loved loved loved this recipe and I’m really picky about Gingerbread Cookies. I even proclaimed them to be the best gingerbead cookies ever on my blog! http://veganguineapig.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-gingerbread-cookie-recipe-ever.html

  • May 27, 2009 at 2:34 am: ???? ???????

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  • October 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm: Laurel

    For those allergic to soy milk, I use almond milk. It works great still! And I don’t even like gingerbread all that much, and I LOVED this recipe. I had my Mom eat them, who also doesn’t like gingerbread, and she asked me to email her the recipe. Thanks!

  • December 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm: Kris

    I made these as christmas tree decorations at my stepmother’s house a couple of years ago (though as heart shaped cookies with stupidly adorable silly faces). They were a massive hit and didn’t stay on the tree long! I’m planning on making a load for a gig I’m organising this weekend (stars this time!), I’m sure they’ll be just as popular :)

  • December 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm: NS

    Although I don’t find them very gingery (and I used fresh ginger instead of the dry powder) and I wouldn’t call them ginger bread – more like ginger snap because of the crispiness – they’re pretty good. To illustrate the state of my kitchen, my rolling pin was a wine bottle and the cookie cutter was a shot glass!

  • December 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm: kendall

    wow! these tasted just like regular gingerbread. i upped each of the spices (the spicier the better, in my book!) and used the “robust” molasses and it was perfect…very flavorful. mine turned out chewy and fluffy at the same time. awesome recipe. thank you!

  • November 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm: Shawn Hammond

    I made them with palm sugar and coconut milk and the dough was way too runny so I had to add a lot of flour to balance off. Is regular white sugar the best. I will use soy milk from now on. Is there any way I can use brown sugar?

  • December 2, 2011 at 12:00 am: E.H.

    Can you substitute applesauce for the oil?

  • December 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm: RRR

    frosting recipe?

  • December 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm: louise

    omg!! how good? mmm mmm. i can’t eat egg and these are AWESOME!!! yummmm :)
    i used coconut oil instead of canola and muscavado sugar cos they were in my cupboard
    thank you xxxx

  • December 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm: Chavela

    My kids love these and thought the punk ones were really funny!!!

  • December 22, 2011 at 6:19 am: Leilani

    These turned out PERFECT!!!!!!! Everyone loved them!!!! My new favorite cookie!!!

  • December 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm: Maggie

    My 9 yr old son made these for Christmas gifts. They were delicious. Everyone loved them.

  • February 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm: missbear

    Fanastic, looking forward to making a batch to use as part of my husbands 40th birthday cake (he wants a chainsaw, he gets a chainsaw, the saw will be made of gingerbread and the body will be chocolate pumpkin loafx2. Let’s hope it’s now dreadful (either way it’ll taste divine!)

  • February 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm: Rachel

    Baking:
    Where can I get vegan sprinkles? I bought some from an online vegan store in Portland but they are dull in color. You always use such brightly colored, pretty sprinkles. I’ve heard that confectioner’s glaze is not vegan and the product is in all the sprinkles I found at any standard grocery store. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • May 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm: Pancake Aunty

    Has anyone tried freezing this dough for later use? Should I go ahead and try? What could go wrong?!
    I have to make zillions of these guys for a family party and want to get ahead. They’ve been specially requested because they always taste great – and kids love making them (and then slowly biting off all the limbs with cackles of glee).

  • July 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm: sc

    great recipe. this is the one recipe that always works for me!

  • September 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm: Phil

    This is such a good recipe! Yum!

  • September 5, 2012 at 3:34 am: amber

    this is awesome, thanks so much. we have used this recipe a thousand times and love it every time!!!

  • November 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm: VeganPT

    I have been eating vegan for 1 month today! I made these gingerbread cookies in week 2 and have been craving them ever since….round 2 is tonight. This site is wonderful!

  • November 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm: Lexi B

    Has anyone modified these to make them gluten free? any suggestions?

  • November 28, 2012 at 12:32 am: Crystal

    Made bear cut-outs, and they were delicious! I was tempted to let them cook a tad longer, but 8 minutes was perfect, still soft inside. My cutters are 3.5″ tall, and I was able to get 22 cookies. Can’t wait to let some carnivores taste these. Thanks for the lovely recipe!

  • December 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm: Mariana

    I tried this recipe and the dough came out too liquid-y :( not sure what went wrong, but I even tried putting extra flour but the dough was still sticky. made some gingerBREAD though and that came out ok :)

  • December 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm: Astrid

    Thank you, so much!
    I am making them for christmas eating and this is the best vegan ginger bread cookie recipe I have found! They always turn out great!

    Thanks again! :)

  • December 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm: Sakthi

    Thanks for this! I had a Christmas do at the weekend and one of my friends is vegan so I did some googling and your recipe looked the most doable. They turned out great! Even my carnivore partner really liked them. Today I came back to link to this recipe, and I noticed your name, which looked familiar. And then I realised it was you guys who wrote the vegan cookies recipe book that I got my friend last Christmas! :)

  • December 13, 2012 at 3:45 am: Hiphopquyn

    Can these be made without the sugar? Substitute maple sugar?

  • December 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm: YSol

    We will try these thanks.
    My friend just gave me a skeleton ginger cut out.
    This recipe should be perfect.
    Too bad you guys don’t have ppk app.

  • December 16, 2012 at 2:57 am: Faye

    Are these suitable for making gingerbread houses?

  • December 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm: Beckithora

    These turned out great. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’d like to know how you applied the icing so artistically. Did you use a brush or a tube?

  • December 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm: Sarah

    I must be crazy, but I swore this recipe used applesauce–did it change?

  • December 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm: Martha

    I didn’t even think I liked gingerbread, but I had to make some to use my ‘ninja-bread men’ cookie cutters. They turned out so good I could not stop eating them!

  • December 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm: Eva

    I made these cookies last weekend and came up perfectly. Probably the best gingerbread cookies I have ever tried. This will be my Christmas go to.

  • December 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm: GMan

    Yum! Great with coffee. And… So easy even I can make them.

  • December 25, 2012 at 4:27 am: miriam

    I made these gluten-free by adding 1 flax “egg” & just using the flours I had on hand (some almond meal, sorghum flour, brown rice flour, and tapioca flour). I added extra flour because the almond meal doesn’t absorb much liquid. They turned out great!

  • December 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm: Jessi

    I love this recipe with a few minor substitutions: I use vanilla soy milk instead of plain for flavor, raw sugar instead of white, and King Arthur’s unbleached white whole wheat flour (‘cuz my family members have a malted wheat barley food allergy, lucky guys).

    I also usually make the dough thicker than the suggested “less than 1/4 inch thick” dough because they become too hard and near burnt if you make them that thin. I prefer gingerbread men that are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. They’re easier to chew but not doughy/uncooked. 8 minutes baking time at 350 F is perfect.

  • September 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm: dixie ryall

    Have you ever tried a gluten free version?

  • October 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm: Julianne

    I don’t know why I had so many problems, but I found this dough far too soft to work with, even after having added about 2 tbsp extra flour. I rolled out the dough and put it in the fridge for nearly 4 hours but it had developed a sticky look to its surface so I put it in the freezer for 10 mins before trying to cut out shapes and it was still a complete nightmare. Surely using oil rather than hard vegan margarine means it will never get stiff like regular sugar cookie dough?

  • November 9, 2013 at 1:00 am: Amy

    I made these for my coworkers and took them to the holiday party past year. One of my coworkers is gluten free and couldnt have any. I felt so bad! And a new hire is allergic to nuts. They were such a huge hit that I am trying them gluten free and nut free this year! (Nut free meaning none of my ingredients have been processed in places that also process peanuts and/or tree nuts.) I finally found the right flour blend. Can’t wait to try it!

  • November 15, 2013 at 3:19 am: Rebecca

    This was delicious! Just made it, and had a little problem with the dough being too crumbly. But the cookies baked beautifully. I didn’t have a little man cookie cutter, just a squirrel actually . . . Perfect for the season.

  • November 18, 2013 at 3:27 am: chanille

    How can I replace molasses?

  • December 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm: Charis

    I made these yesterday and they are perfect! I doubled the recipe and somehow managed to get nearly 70 cookies!! (The opposite of a problem!) just wanted to let people know that for royal icing that sets really firm (so could be used to stick gingerbread houses together etc) I used confectioners sugar and 1Tbsp egg replacer powder mixed with water until it was thick but thin enough to pipe! It was perfect and set hard very quickly! Will deffo be making a gingerbread house using this recipe for Christmas!

  • December 6, 2013 at 11:00 am: rusne

    Hey guys, i just had a quick question. I made these wonderful cookies last night however i thought they were a tad too sweet for my liking. If i only add 1/4 cup of sugar and an extra 1/2 cup of flour will that work or will they not not stick together properly when being baked? thanks xxx

  • December 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm: Lynn

    Need to make with Grandkids!

  • December 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm: Martha

    Mmmm… I just made these using a gluten-free flour blend and they are awesome! Thank you!

  • December 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm: Dolly

    What is the shelf life for these cookies?

  • December 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm: Carissa

    I also had trouble with these being too sticky. I used King Arthur gluten free flour in place of whole wheat. Would that make the difference? Did anyone else have tips to solve this problem? The dough made delicious drop cookies, but there was just no way to roll them out. Thanks!

  • December 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm: Joy

    Do you think I could replace the oil with applesauce with good results?

  • December 20, 2013 at 8:44 pm: sarah

    Has anyone used rice milk instead of soy milk in this recipe? We are a soy-allergic house! I will try it regardless, but thought I’d ask first just in case.

  • December 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm: SBP

    Regarding sticky dough: the first time I made the dough it came out sticky and way too soft for rolling. I decided to try it again another day and this time it came out the right consistency. It’s possible I made a mistake the first time, however I did also make one change: the first time I had added the flour and dry ingredients all at once, the second time I gradually added the flour mixture, mixing each time. I wondered whether this allowed the flour to be absorbed by the oil in a different way. Not really sure there is anything to this theory but worth trying for those who had problems.

  • December 22, 2013 at 3:47 am: dolly

    With 1 1/2 inch cookies cutters I got 4 dozen cookies; how did you get only 16? I added a splash of vanilla extract and my dough was the perfect consistency.

  • April 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm: Cate

    I’ve just made this for the first time – I’ve got to the stage of putting the dough in the fridge. It seems really soft – is that normal? Maybe I should mix more flour in but I’ve already put in a little bit more than the recipe said – any tips anyone?

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