Classic gingerbread recipe: how to make gingerbread cookies

Follow this quick and simple gingerbread recipe to learn how to make gingerbread cookies, vegan gingerbread and even shortbread cookies!

Looking for an easy gingerbread recipe? Follow this brilliant guide from Modern Gingerbread and learn how to make gingerbread cookies, pale gingerbread, how to flavour your gingerbread with dark treacle and delicious rich chocolate, along with a vegan gingerbread recipe. Plus, learn how to use shortbread in your gingerbread cookies!

These recipes are taken from Modern Gingerbread
ISBN: 9781782216735
Available from Search Press
RRP: £12.99

Modern gingerbread book cover

Classic gingerbread recipe


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You will need:

  • 112g golden syrup
  • 68g dark brown sugar
  • 68g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of cloves
  • ½tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 3.75ml water
  • Half a beaten egg – approximately 25g

Classic gingerbread

This classic all-purpose gingerbread recipe is ideal for cookies, treats and small structures. It produces an even baked surface and edge, can be re-rolled, refrigerated and frozen, although this recipe and the ones that follow are best used on the day they have been made.

Vegan gingerbread

Follow the classic gingerbread recipe and method but replace the same quantity of butter with dairy free vegan margarine and replace the egg with 1tsp of finely milled flax meal mixed with 25ml water. Allow the flax meal mixed with water to stand for 15 minutes before use – this allows the flax meal to swell in the water.

Classic gingerbread cookie


  1. Weigh and measure the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spice. Mix together until the spice is evenly distributed, then sieve into a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat the egg lightly.
  3. Melt the golden syrup, dark brown sugar, and butter together in a saucepan until all the sugar granules have dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Allow to cool a little.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour and spice mix and pour in the melted syrup, dark brown sugar, and butter. Add the egg and water.
  5. Stir with a spatula to combine and knead to form a stiff dough.
  6. Transfer the dough into an airtight plastic bag (or wrap in greaseproof paper) and allow to cool completely and rest at room temperature before use.
  7. Preheat oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / gas mark 4.
  8. Roll out and cut the gingerbread to the required shapes and thickness on baking parchment or a silicone mat using a cutter or template. Then gently slide onto a flat baking sheet covered with baking parchment. Bake for 8–15 minutes until evenly golden brown (note that baking times will depend on the size and thickness of the items you're baking).
  9. Once cooked, remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow to cool a little before transferring the items to a cooling rack with the help of a palette knife.

Top tip! Use balls of unused gingerbread to weigh down the corners of the parchment if baking in a fan-assisted oven. This will help prevent the parchment from lifting which might distort the gingerbread as it's baking.

How to make pale gingerbread

Pale Gingerbread Cookie

This recipe makes a lighter gingerbread that uses white caster sugar. It can be used to provide variations in shade and is used when making coloured gingerbread. Like the previous recipe, it produces an even baked surface and edge, and can be re-rolled, stored and frozen. Follow the classic gingerbread recipe and method, but replace the same quantity of dark brown sugar with white caster sugar and omit the cloves and nutmeg.

Love that spiced gingerbread flavour? Check out this delicious spiced gingerbread with lemon glaze cake recipe by Anneka Manning.

How to make dark treacle gingerbread 

Dark treacle gingerbread cookie

Like the recipe for pale gingerbread, this darker gingerbread can be used to provide shade variation and has a deep and rich flavour. Follow the classic gingerbread recipe and method but replace the same quantity of golden syrup with black treacle.

How to make rich chocolate gingerbread

Chocolate gingerbread cookie

Follow the classic gingerbread recipe and method but replace the same quantity of golden syrup with black treacle and replace 25g flour with 25g good quality cocoa powder.

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Shortbread cookies recipe

Shortbread can be used to make light coloured inlays in gingerbread cookies. It also makes delicious shortbread cookies in its own right!

Gingerbread and shortbread cookie

You will need:

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 300g salted butter
  • 400g plain flour
  • 50g cornflour (corn starch)


  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC / fan 160ºC / gas mark 4.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter together until it is light and fluffy.
  3. Gently mix the cornflour (corn starch) into the flour until it is evenly distributed. Then sift into the creamed butter and sugar.
  4. Mix to form a stiff dough, then sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface and knead the dough until it is smooth.
  5. Roll out the dough and cut your desired shapes and place on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment.
  6. Bake for around 12–15 minutes or until the edges are golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow cooling a little before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Top tip! Wondering how to store gingerbread and shortbread dough? The gingerbread doughs in this book can be stored in a refrigerator for three or four days if kept in an airtight food storage bag. They can also be frozen for several weeks if kept in an airtight bag. Shortbread dough can be stored for two days in the refrigerator.

Now you've mastered how to make gingerbread cookies, why not try creating your own gingerbread house? Read our top tips for making a gingerbread house that anyone would be envious of!

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