A bourbon twist on the classic Christmas cookie! Bourbon gingerbread cookies have the traditional molasses and brown sugar sweet with spicy ginger and cinnamon. Bourbon buttercream frosting tops off these cookies with the perfect sweetness.
Subtle bourbon flavors of caramel and vanilla team up with the rich molasses and spicy ginger for a new twist on the traditional. But don't worry about getting the kiddos inebriated, all the booze is cooked off in both the batter and the frosting.
(Yes, I can hear the disappointed folks in the back. For boozy bourbon treats, check this out.)
Gingerbread Cookie Basics
The dough for gingerbread is real wet after it comes together, so unfortunately this one is definitely going to have to chill. Which is tough when you want cookies now, like now now.
Let it chill and you'll be rewarded with beautiful gingerbread cookies in whatever shape you choose to cut them. Crispy edges, chewy soft center with sweet, bourbon icing.
Unlike most cookie recipes that use softened butter, bourbon gingerbread cookies start with melted butter to be mixed with the sugar, bourbon, molasses, and spices. Then add this wet mixture to the flour mixture before you mix it up into bourbon laced ginger goodness.
The best molasses - well really just my favorite - is the Grandma's brand. It's reliable, easy to find and affordable. The taste is sweet, dark and rich.
I am here for boozy desserts. It's true. I love rosé laced cakes and bourbon filled truffles The frosting on these Bourbon Gingerbread Cookies is bourbon-y enough to make you go, "oh hey what's that?" but without the burn...and the booze.
By reducing the bourbon on the stove, you're concentrating the flavor and cooking off the alcohol. While normally I'd be boohooing the loss of the boozy part, it ensures your buttercream won't curdle, and you can serve these to your kids without turning them into little drunken pirates.
The bourbon buttercream has enough stiffness to pipe well, hardens nicely without getting crunchy, and is smooth enough to just be spread on with a knife as well. Personally, I believe in optimum frosting to cooke ratio but that's me.
Ready to get your holiday baking on? Meee too. I saved my scraps from the second go at the recipe and I might have some bourbon buttercream left. I might also have been sneaking spoonfuls of it here and there so....perhaps these gingerbread people will need to find a different source of clothing.
Bourbon Gingerbread Cookies with Bourbon Buttercream
Bourbon Gingerbread Cookies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (packed)
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses (the Grandma's brand is my favorite)
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
- ¾ cup bourbon
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bourbon Gingerbread Cookies
- Combine the wet ingredients. In a saucepan, melt the butter, bourbon, molasses, salt, and spices over low heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Once the mixture is just barely lukewarm, beat in the egg.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In the bowl of the standing mixer, mix the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Chill the dough.. Divide the dough in half and place between two pieces of parchment paper - the dough will be wet. Pat into disks, about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If the dough is not chilled, it will be tough to roll out.
- Roll the dough. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the dough has chilled, flour a clean work surface and roll thin - about ¼-inch to ⅛-inch in thickness depending on your taste. Thinner dough equals crispier cookies. If the dough starts to stick while rolling, dust with more flour.
- Cut the cookies. Cut out your preferred cookie shapes, transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 8 minutes for thin cookies and 10 to 12 minutes for thicker cookies. Form the dough scraps back into a dish and roll out again to cut more cookies. Repeat until all the dough is used.
- Decorate. Frost the cookies using the bourbon buttercream recipe below or your favorite holiday icing.
- Reduce the bourbon. In a medium saucepan, bring the bourbon to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiled bring the heat down to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced to ¼ cup. Transfer to a bowl and put in the refrigerator to cool.
- Make the frosting. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the confectioner's sugar. Once all the sugar is added, raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute to mix, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.
- Add the flavors. Reduce the speed to low and pour in bourbon and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Transfer the icing to a piping bag or frost over cooled cookies with a knife.
- Parchment paper is a huge help for this recipe, both to roll out the wet dough before chilling and to bake the cookies. And if you hate dishes, just toss after baking the gingerbread cookies.
- The bourbon flavor in the cookies is pretty subtle, but the bourbon buttercream will add that bold flavor your seeking, even if just a little is used.
- Dough can be chilled overnight up to 24 hours.
- Bourbon buttercream will stiffen after drying, chill the cookies if you want to stack them for storing.