Food. Life. Travel

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies: Recipe

It’s that time of year again! And what better way to celebrate than to indulge in some chocolate gingerbread cookies! These cookies have the same flavour as other gingerbread cookies, but they are enhanced with the deep flavour of cocoa powder.

What I love about this chocolate gingerbread cookies recipe is that it is not too sweet. Which means that if you end up decorating them with a royal icing like I did, the cookies won’t be overly sweet. They will have the perfect balance of spicy ginger, the depth of deep cocoa and the sweetness of a meringue icing.

This was my first time seriously decorating my cut out cookies. Normally I slather on some quick royal icing, throw some sprinkles on top and call it day. However, this time around I really wanted to put in the effort to make some beautifully decorated chocolate gingerbread cookies.

I have been inspired by so many beautiful sugar cookies on Instagram that I wanted to try my hand out at doing it. Man are some people super talented! I envy that.


I know that making a royal icing can seem easy in theory but if you add too much water you essentially end up with cookies that are flooded with icing. This means that you lose the chance at creating a crisp border and then flooding the surface with a just-viscous-enough layer of icing.

I have the science-packed down at making gingerbread cookies. My cookies are crispy on the outside but soft and dense on the inside. I would say that the texture is similar to that of a soft shortbread cookie without the crumbling. If you like your gingerbread cookies more crispy, simply bake them for longer.

When it came to making the royal icing, I went ahead and splurged on some meringue powder. Some say meringue powder is a must while others say you can get away with using fresh egg whites. While I have tried both, I think I liked the convenience of meringue powder.

Here are some tips that I learned:

  • Do not over whip the meringue. 7-10 minutes on medium speed should be sufficient
  • Make the individual colours in a separate bowl. That way if you have too watery icing, you can fix it by adding some of the original meringue
  • Use gel food colouring vs regular food colouring. Gel food won’t add additional water thus rendering the icing too watery. If you do not have gel food colouring I suggest adding your regular food coloring first and then deciding whether you need to add water or not
  • Add water by the 1/2 tsp. My first batch of icing turned out to be too watery because I added a tablespoon of water. Believe me when I say less is more!
  • Make the entire batch of royal icing. It may seem like a lot of icing sugar but the icing does not increase in volume compared to buttercream. You will need it if you are making 24 cookies!

For more tips and tricks check out this link here by Sweetopia!

And no without further ado, I present to you my recipe for chocolate gingerbread cookies. 


Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies have the traditional flavour of gingerbread that is enhanced by the deep and rich flavour of cocoa powder. Decorate them with royal icing and sprinkles!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Royal Icing

  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp almond essense
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and cream for 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg and mix. Mixin the molasses and vanilla.

  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice and ginger powder. Mix on low speed until combined properly. 

  3. Roll dough into a flat disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to about 4mm thick. Use whatever cookie cutter shapes you like. Place cookies on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

Royal Icing

  1. Combine icing sugar, meringue powder, extracts and water. Beat the mixture on medium speed for 7-10 minutes, or until the meringue loses its sheen and forms nice and stiff peaks. 

  2. Place the desired amount of icing into a separate bowl and add your desired colour. To loosen the icing add 1/2 tsp of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency (icing should fall off your spoon in a ribbon but take about 10-15 seconds to dissolve back into the rest of the icing). 

Recipe Notes

* It is important to let your dough rest for 3 hours so that the flavours properly develop. You also want to work with dough that is nice and cold and not warm.

* If you find the dough is quite soft after mixing it, add some cocoa powder to the plastic wrap prior to wrapping up the dough. This will prevent sticking

* Be patient when icing. It takes time. I like to ice my cookies using a Wilton 2,3,4 and 5 tip. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled prior to icing. 

* For maximum effectiveness let the iced cookies lay out to rest on your countertop uncovered prior to placing them in the cookie jar. You need at least 24 hours or more for the icing to properly set and harden. Do not worry, your cookies will not get dry!


I won’t lie, decorating with royal icing is a true art and takes a lot of patience and practice. However, for my first time, I think that these cookies turned out beautiful. Honestly, there is nothing that sprinkles cannot fix. And what is most important is that these cookies taste incredible, and the icing just makes these cookies better. 


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