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Spiced Gingerbread Cookies

The Super Bowl is almost here, and time to get your Super Bowl Party menu ready! Finger foods (ribs, chicken wings, veggie sticks (OK, that’s my option), sliders, salty snacks) are typically preferred because they are easy to eat while watching the game. And, of course, cookies for dessert. What better cookie than gingerbread cookies cut out and decorated to look like footballs? The natural brown color of gingerbread gives the cookie a “football” color, and the spiciness of the cookie adds to the “football excitement.” Oh, and toss some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey into the dough to give the cookies a real party feel!

Of course, gingerbread cookies can be made at any time, with December holidays being the most common. Although the whiskey cooks out as the cookie bakes and simply adds a bit of spicy cinnamon flavor, If you don’t want whiskey in your gingerbread people or reindeer, substitute warm coffee instead.

I had 2 different gingerbread cookie recipes: One to make crisp cookies and one to make soft, chewy cookies. I decided I wanted just ONE recipe that I could adapt for various situations. This recipe is the result of 2 years of off-and-on experimenting. Enjoy!


When both volumetric and weight measures are provided, the volumetric measures should be considered approximations. The standard measure for a cup of flour is 120 grams. By volume, this measure will typically be less than 1 cup. When baking, it is always best to use a food scale to measure dry ingredients, especially flour. However, if you don’t have a food scale, sift the flour three times, then spoon the flour into a measuring cup and use the flat edge of a knife to level it off. This should result in a cup of flour that weighs about 120 grams.

The butter should be room-temperature, but not melty. The fresh ginger, orange zest, and instant coffee granules are mixed directly into the butter to infuse the butter with their flavors.

Be sure the egg is at room temperature. Cold eggs can result in a lumpy batter and heavy texture. To quickly bring the egg to room temperature before cracking, place the egg in a bowl of very warm (not boiling hot) water for 10 minutes. However, if you want a VERY soft, chewy cookie, omit the egg and substitute warm coffee. Eggs have protein and act as “binding” agents; eliminating that protein makes the dough softer. The warm coffee does NOT add a coffee flavor to the cookie; rather, it enhances the spicy molasses flavor. If using warm coffee, omit the instant coffee granules.

For crisp cookies, use very little whiskey or coffee; less liquid means crisper cookies. For soft, chewy cookies, add more liquid.

Avoid incorporating excess air into the cookie batter by gently folding the wet and dry ingredients together.

I always recommend lining baking sheets with parchment paper. Parchment paper helps to improve uniform browning on the bottom of baked goods, and it ensures that the cookies can be removed from the baking sheet easily.

For a uniform appearance and even baking, chill the cookie dough for at least one hour to make it easy to handle. When ready to bake, use a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough out to 1/4″ (for crisper cutout cookies) – 3/8″ (for a chewier cutout cookie) or roll the cookie dough into balls and flatten slightly. Space cookies 1″ – 3″ apart on the baking sheet so they can spread while baking. Cookies with only 1/2 Tablespoon of Whiskey and no warm brewed coffee will spread very little. Cookies with 2 tablespoons of whiskey will spread a lot.

I use dowel rods to ensure uniform thickness when rolling out cookies. I put the dowel rods on either side of the cookie dough and put my rolling pin on top of the dowel rods.
Yup! I found a football cookie cutter at my local craft supplies store.
Cookies with very little Cinnamon Whiskey. Note there is very little space between the cookies because they will not spread much.
These were also made with very little Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

As every football fan knows, footballs are made by sewing sections together. To create that effect, your football cutouts can be left plain and the “sections” indicated with piping.

Crisper cookies did not spread much and were left plain; the “sewn” lines will be piped on.

OR you can use a toothpick to trace out the sections. However, if using a toothpick to create sections, I recommend rolling the cookies out 3/8″ thick and using the lesser amount of whiskey or coffee; these soft football cookies expanded just enough that the “sewn-together sections” became blurred.

These cookies were made with 2 tablespoons Fireball Cinnamon cookies. I’m in trouble- these are going to SPREAD!
OOPs! Too soft and baked too close together. But YUMMY!!!!!

Of course, gingerbread people and reindeer can be made crisp or chewy. Take your pick!

Once you are ready to decorate, mix your frosting together and then portion your frosting into separate bowls for each color. I kept the colors of my football cookies neutral; but you can change the frosting colors to your favorite team.

Also, the ingredient amounts given for the frosting are enough to completely frost all the cookies or make multiple colors of frosting. Piping bags require extra frosting to pipe properly. If only making 2 colors (for the footballs), you can cut the amount of frosting needed in half.

If you chose to pipe the “sewn together” sections, pipe that color on first, and let it dry before adding the lacing and decoration colors.

Of course, you can also make Gingerbread people and reindeer. Did you know the gingerbread person cookie cutter can be used to make reindeer? Just turn the cookie upside down!

And if you want a simple cookie without decorations, frost the whole top of the cookie!

Gingerbread people and reindeer.
Cookie with egg and 2 tablespoons Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.
This is the “I’m in a hurry and don’t want to decorate” version.

These cookies (imediately above and below) were made without the egg, but with 2 Tablespoons whiskey + 1 Tablespoon warm coffee added.

Without the egg binding the cookie, the cookies flattened a little bit more, but were very soft and chewy.

And they stacked!

Cookies made without eggs, but with 1 tablespoons warm coffee and 2 tablespoons Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. YUMMMMM!!!!

Spiced Gingerbread Cookies

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By Connie Teunis Serves: approximetely 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Cooking Time: apparoximately 13-15 minutes

A wonderful, spicy gingerbread cookie that will leave all other gingerbread cookies tasting bland. These cookies can be made thin and crispy, or thick and chewy. Use cinnamon-flavored whiskey for an added flavor punch, or leave out the whiskey and substitute coffee, instead. And like most gingerbread cookies, these can be rolled out and cut into a variety of shapes, OR roll into a ball, flatten slightly, and enjoy a wonderfully soft, chewy gingerbread cookie! No matter how you make it, the reaction will be "YUM!"


  • Cookie Dough:
  • 300 g./ 2 ½ c. All-Purpose Flour + approximately ¼ cup additional flour for rolling out cookie dough
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 11 g./ 2 T. Ground Ginger
  • 7 g./ 1 T. Cinnamon
  • 6 g./ 2 t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 t. Ground Cloves
  • 3 g./ ½ t. Salt
  • ¼ t. Ground Pepper
  • 113 g./ 1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 30 g./ 2 T. Fresh Ginger, finely minced
  • 10 g./ 1 T. Orange Zest, finely minced
  • 1 ½ t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • 144 g./ ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 120 g./ ½ c. Unsulphured Molasses (not Blackstrap)
  • 50 g./ 1 Large Egg*
  • ½ T. – 2 T. Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, or Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, or Whiskey**
  • Frosting****:
  • 3 c./ 360 mg. Powdered Sugar
  • 56 g./ 4 T./ ½ stick Unsalted Butter, softened***
  • 4 T. Milk for piping or 5-6 T. Milk for frosting
  • 1 t. Vanilla Extract
  • Food Coloring, if desired



In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, and pepper; set aside.


In a large bowl by hand or on low speed of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, fresh ginger, minced orange zest, and instant coffee granules (if using). Add the brown sugar and cream together. Add the molasses, egg, and whiskey*; cream together.


By hand, combine the wet and dry ingredients until completely mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.


When ready to bake:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.


For cutout cookies, use a rolling pin to roll the cookie dough out to ¼” -3/8” thick (Thinner cookies will make crisper cookies; thicker cookies will make chewier cookies.) Use the desired cookie cutter to cut out cookies and place on prepared cookie sheets, allowing as least 2” between cookies.


For rolled cookies, measure out 1 ounce of dough for each cookie. Roll into a ball, flatten slightly, and place on the cookie sheet, spacing cookies 3” apart.


Bake in preheated oven until cookies spring back when lightly touched, approximately 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for one minute, then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack; cool completely.




In a small/medium bowl, cream the butter, if using; add the powdered sugar and cream together by hand. Add the milk and vanilla and mix together until frosting is smooth and is the desired consistency (thicker for piping, thinner for frosting). If coloring agents are desired, portion frosting out to several bowls, and add the desired coloring agents. Frost or pipe cookies, as desired.




*For very soft cookies, omit the egg and instant coffee granules, and add 1-2 T. warm coffee.


**For crisper cookies, add less Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. For softer cookies, add more Fireball Cinnamon Cookies.


**To substitute for the whiskey, omit the coffee granules and add 1-2 T. warm coffee.


***If you want a soft frosting, add butter to the frosting mix. For a frosting that will harden, e.g., for decorating, omit the butter.


****The ingredient amounts given for the frosting are enough to completely frost all the cookies or make multiple colors of frosting. Piping bags require extra frosting to pipe properly. If only making 2 colors (for the footballs), you can cut the amount of frosting needed in half.

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