A longstanding family favorite at our house is our Gingerbread Cookie recipe. Gingerbread cookies are certainly a sensory experience for kids! The smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven is unlike anything else. This recipe also provides kids with the opportunity to work with a few ingredients that you may not use in your day-to-day cooking and baking. Although the recipe is perfect for the gingerbread man cookie cutter, we use it throughout the fall and winter months with a variety of different cookie cutters. Leaf shapes are great for fall and mittens are perfect in winter.
To make the cookies
- Sift the flour, salt, ginger, cloves, baking soda, cocoa powder, and cinnamon into a bowl. (Sifting combines the ingredients and make the flour fluffier for baking. If you don’t own a sifter, mix the dry ingredients with a wire wisk.) Have your child smell each bottle of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, or cocoa powder individually. They have very specific smells that will add to the sensory experience.
- In a separate bowl, beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses. (I always use mild flavored molasses, especially when I’m baking this recipe with young kids. Molasses can be an acquired taste and many young kids are not fans of the full flavor.)
- Add half of the dry mixture and beat until combined. Then, add the other half of the dry mixture. This is a very thick dough mixture, so use a heavy duty mixer.
- Chill the cookie dough for 2 hours.
- On a lightly floured board, roll out the cookie dough to ¼ inch thick. Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out the dough.
- Place cookies directly onto a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Small cookies will need much less baking time than larger cookies.
After the cookies have cooled, decorate as desired!
Gingerbread book list
- The Gingerbread Man (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt
- The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires and Holly Berry
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock
- The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup and Matt Tavares
- Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
- The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
- Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst
- Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
- The Gingerbread Bear by Robert Dennis and Tammie Lyon
- The Gingerbread Village by The Learning Workshop
- Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins