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Simple Tips to Make Gingerbread Cookies Soft

Simple Tips to Make Gingerbread Cookies Soft

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Some historians believe that gingerbread cookies originated in China, while others think that they traveled from Greece and made their way to the rest of Europe in the 10th century.

Regardless of their origin, these cookies became a staple in European Christmas celebrations, with a simple recipe that can be easily modified according to your dietary needs.

But what if your cookies turn out to be too hard? Is there a way to fix them, or should you throw this batch away and start from scratch?

Nothing should go to waste because, in this article, I’ll tell you how to make gingerbread cookies soft on the inside and a little bit crispy on the outside. So, let’s dive in.

Are Gingerbread Cookies Supposed to Be Hard or Soft?

Gingerbread cookies can be hard or soft, depending on how you want them.

You don’t have to be a seasoned chef to bake tasty gingerbread cookies.

The recipe is straightforward, and with a few ingredients, you’ll have the perfect balance between sweet and spice.

But how hard should these cookies be?

The softness or hardness of your cookies depends on the ingredients used and how you mix and bake the dough. The combination of these factors will affect your cookie batch’s softness.

If you want to enjoy these cookies on their own, you can make them soft. They will be more fun to eat, especially if you have kids who love gingerbread cookies.

They’ll crumble and somehow dissolve in your mouth while bursting with a fountain of delicious flavors.

Yet, if you want to prepare a batch of cookies for decoration, they should be hard. The harder and drier the cookies are, the longer the icing will stay on top of them.

Soft cookies will suck up the moisture and color from the icing, so they won’t look as good after a few hours.

Finally, it’s always a matter of preference. Some people like their cookies to be crunchy, while others like them to be soft and buttery.

You can prepare your cookies how you love them, and they will still taste amazing and delicious.

Why Are My Gingerbread Cookies Hard?

Many mistakes can lead to having hard gingerbread cookies, but the most common one is too much mixing.

Don’t get me wrong; you should mix the flour into the dough until it’s no longer visible.

However, too much mixing leads to the formation of gluten, which makes the dough too hard.

The more you mix, the harder your dough will be and the harder your cookies will become.

You can also have hard cookies because you used the wrong type of sugar, too much flour, or not enough molasses. Forgetting to let the dough sit or chill is another common mistake.

Finally, if you bake the cookies at a very high heat, there’s a big chance that your gingerbread cookies will turn out to be quite hard.

How to Keep Your Gingerbread Cookies Soft

Adjusting your ingredients and how you use them is a foolproof way to keep your cookies soft and fluffy. Even after you bake your cookies and they turn out to be hard, you can fix them and make them a little softer.

Here are some excellent tips to keep your gingerbread cookies soft and fluffy.

Melt Your Butter

Butter has between 16% and 18% moisture, adding fluffiness and softness to your cookies.

This is why you should follow the instructions and add the right amount of butter while baking your gingerbread cookies. Otherwise, your cookies will turn out to be too hard.

Moreover, you can melt the butter before adding it to the dough to make it softer.

Use Shortening Instead

Not a big fan of butter? You can use shortening instead.

Shortening contains less saturated fat than butter, has a higher melting point, and adds more bubbles to the dough. As a result, using shortening in a baking recipe will make your cookies rise a little higher and have a softer interior.

Then why do some people use butter in the first place?

Well, mainly because of its nutritional value. Shortening is 100% fat, so it contains no minerals or vitamins.

Butter is a dairy product, so it contains vitamins A, D, K2, and E. Moreover, cookies made using butter taste more delicious and will have crunchier edges.

Opt For Brown Sugar

Brown sugar holds more moisture thanks to the presence of molasses. This molasses is separated during the refining process to make white sugar.

Molasses gives brown sugar a caramelized color and taste and will make your cookies taller with softer interiors. It prevents the cookie dough from spreading while baking, so you can have fluffier cookies.

Dark brown sugar is even better because it has double the amount of molasses in light brown sugar. But you might want to give it a try before using it in your gingerbread cookie recipe because it has a distinctive taste.

Use Baking Powder

Baking powder is made of baking soda and cornstarch. So, instead of using baking soda in your recipe, you can replace it with baking powder to make your cookies softer and fluffier.

Many people think that you can use these two ingredients interchangeably. However, you must adjust the amounts to achieve the desired results.

Baking powder reacts with the moisture in the dough at room temperature and in the oven. These reactions give it more lifting power to make your cookies fluffy and airy.

Pick Cake Flour

The amount of proteins in your flour will affect the cookies’ texture. When the flour has too much protein, your cookies will become harder.

All-purpose flour is a medium-protein flour, so using it in your gingerbread cookie recipe means that your cookies will turn out to be less fluffy.

If you want your cookies to be light and soft, switch to cake flour, which contains less protein.

Ensure you don’t add too much flour because it will dry your cookies.

Use Egg Yolks

As I said, there are many recipes for gingerbread cookies. So, picking a recipe that uses egg yolks guarantees that your cookies will turn out to be fluffier and softer.

Egg yolks add fats to your recipe and prevent the gluten from forming while mixing your dough. As a result, your cookies will have a fluffy and airy texture, and they will feel soft on the inside.

Incorporate Light Corn Syrup

Light corn syrup maintains its liquid consistency and keeps other sugars in liquid form during the baking process. This syrup will make your cookies stay soft and fluffy and will make them taste sweeter.

Fix Your Baking Time

Sometimes, you end up with dry and hard cookies because you overbaked them or used high heat.

Preheat your oven to 350°F, as this is the ideal baking temperature to bake your cookies to perfection. Overly hot ovens can melt your butter before the other ingredients cook, so your cookies might spread out and become too flat.

Ideally, you should determine the baking time based on the size of the cookies. So, if you have smaller cookies, you can bake them for 8 minutes.

Bigger cookies will take between 9 to 10 minutes to thoroughly bake. You’ll know that your cookies are done when they’re a little firm on the outside when touched.

How to Soften Dry Gingerbread Cookies

After sitting for a while, your gingerbread cookies will lose some of their moisture, and they will become a little harder. Yet, with some culinary tweaking, you can restore their softness.

All you have to do is keep the cookies in an airtight container and add a piece of white bread.

The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and become softer and fluffier.

Final Thoughts

Gingerbread cookies can be hard or soft, based on your preferences. Using the wrong ingredients or extending the baking time can affect the softness of your cookies.

You can have softer cookies by using brown sugar instead of white sugar and switching to butter instead of shortening. Picking cake flour and not overmixing the dough will give you fluffy and airy cookies.

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