Gingerbread Cookies

with vegan cocoa Royal icing

There’s nothing more Christmas-y than gingerbread cookies. A holiday tradition turned vegan and with the addition on cocoa icing, this 10-ingredient dessert is simple enough for a beginner. These cookies are soft, slightly chewy, sweet, and spiced to perfection.

Gingerbread man cookie resting on a red cutting board surrounded by more gingerbread men cookies.

Any of you who know me know that I love Disneyland. And perhaps “love” doesn’t quite cover it but we’ll just stick with that for now. Every year at Christmas time the Happiest Place on Earth rolls out their over-the-top, insanely delicious mouse-shaped gingerbread cookies. Up until I went vegan I used to to enjoy them as often as I could throughout the month of December. Alas, since going vegan I’ve had to give them up. Well…almost…

I’m not kidding when I say that these are the Disneyland copy-cat (or mouse) vegan version. They seriously taste JUST LIKE THE ORIGINALS! What’s even better is that mine are entirely vegan. From the chewy molasses goodness of the cookie to the sugary sweetness of the royal icing. You don’t have to give up your seasonal favorites when enjoying vegan desserts and these gingerbread cookies are proof of that.

Why you’ll love them

These vegan gingerbread cookies with vegan cocoa royal icing are:

  • Soft
  • Slightly sweet
  • Simple
  • Kid-friendly
Round gingerbread cookies with a drizzle of cocoa royal icing resting on a gold napkin and Christmas lights in the background.

Gingerbread Cookie

Just a few simple tricks for making this (and almost any cookie):

  • First, get out the butter about 15-30 minutes prior to making your cookie dough. This will allow the butter to come to room temperature, making it easier to cream with the sugar.
  • Second, make sure that all your dry ingredients are well combined. If you have a sifter use it! You want even distribution of all the spices and leavening agents.
  • Third, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly. Usually adding them 1/3 at a time is a safe rule of thumb to ensure that you don’t lose half your dry ingredients when you turn on your mixer.
  • Finally, do not over mix your dough. Mix the cookie dough until everything is just incorporated. Over-mixing will result in a tough cookie crumb.

Now you have two options when making these gingerbread cookies. On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (or a glass cup) to cut out your cookies. Alternatively, you can roll about 2 tbsp sized balls worth of dough in your hands and gently press them down until they’re about 1/2 and inch thick.

Whichever you choose, bake the cookies on a parchment-line cookie sheet about 350*F for about 8 minutes. They are going to be soft and that’s ok. They will firm up on the cookie sheet for about 5-10 minutes after they’re removed from the oven.

Cocoa Royal Icing

The gingerbread cookies at Disneyland are dripped in chocolate. Instead, I decided to put my own twist on the classic royal icing by including the chocolate there, instead of dipping these cookies into chocolate as well as decorating with royal icing. If you want a traditional royal icing simply omit the cocoa powder and use an additional 1/4 cup of powdered sugar instead.

You want the royal icing to be fairly thick. But not so thick that it will clog your piping bag. Test it by allowing a spoonful to drizzle from into the bowl. If the royal icing slides right off the spoon it’s going to be too runny and will not hold it’s shape on the cookie. Add more powdered sugar a tbsp at a time until you get a thicker consistency. You’re looking for the icing to very slowly flow from the end of a spoon. If it falls off in clumps, add more almond milk a tsp at a time.

Gingerbread man cookie resting on a red cutting board surrounded by more gingerbread men cookies.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cardamom- essential oils, antioxidants

Cinnamon- manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber

Ginger- antioxidants

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Vegan Gingerbread Cookie with Vegan Cocoa Royal Icing

A holiday tradition turned vegan with the addition on cocoa icing, these 10-ingredient gingerbread cookies are simple enough even for a beginner.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookie

  • ½ cup vegan butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup bootstrap molasses
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ cup room-temperature water

Vegan Cocoa Icing

  • ½ powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp almond milk (plus more as needed)

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

  1. In a large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a patal attachment (or a large glass bowl with a hand mixer) cream together softened vegan butter and brown sugar.

  3. Add molasses and mix until combined.

  4. Add sifted dry ingredients to molasses mixture ⅓ at a time, alternating with water.

  5. Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. In the meantime, make vegan cocoa royal icing.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out gingerbread dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Use floured cookie cutter of choice to cut shapes in cookie dough.

  8. Gently remove surrounding dough from cut shapes and transfer cookies to greased cookie sheet. Do not over-crowd the cookie sheet.

  9. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. They will still be soft but not doughy. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transfering to a wire cooling rack. Eat as is or decorate with vegan cocoa royal icing. Store in an air-tight container on the counter for 3-4 days.

Vegan Cocoa Royal Icing

  1. In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, lemon juice, and almond milk. Make sure that all clumps are whisked until the mixture is smooth.

  2. Allow the icing to sit for 15-30 minutes while cookie dough is chilling in the refrigerator.

  3. Once thickened transfer icing to piping bag and decorate cookies. Allow the icing to harden completely before storing.

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