These easy Iced Ginger Cookies are soft and chewy in texture, with a spicy cinnamon flavor that can be enjoyed anytime of year!
My friend Sharon and I went this weekend to Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is here that you can immerse yourself in the vibrant world of the 18th century and meet the diverse people who helped shape America of today. There are over 50 sites, trades, taverns and shops, each equipped with people in period clothing. If you love Americana, this is your place!
The mission statement at Colonial Williamsburg is: “To feed the human spirit by sharing America’s enduring story”. So, we headed right for the Bakery to get a piece of history and feed our human spirit with their homemade Ginger Cake Cookies!
The Raleigh Tavern Bakery is located behind the Raleigh Tavern (Cheers!). We arrived as they were preparing for the day and met Stanton the Baker (or as he called himself, “the Keeper of the Cookies”). Stanton explained in detail how the oven operated back in the 18th century. The oven was made of red brick, heated with wood and carefully tended by the baker until it was ready. After removing the hot embers, the oven temperature was around 500° and gradually cooled to 375° or so (nothing was exact back then). Stanton then placed the historical iron cookie sheets with the cookie dough into the oven for 15 minutes. After what seemed like forever, out popped the lovely batch of ginger cake cookies! Stanton was an absolute delight, as were the hot, puffy and tasty cookie cakes! The experience was truly Old World authentic!
So, Sharon and I were inspired to make a Modern Day version of this scrumptious, light dessert. First of all, we’re definitely a bit lazier in the 21st century. The original recipe had you kneading the dough, rolling it out and cutting them individually into cookies. Who has time for that now? We just scooped and flattened the dough with our fingers and they turned out beautifully. And they were SO delicious. These Iced Ginger Cookies are a little bit crispy around the edges and soft in the center. The cookies taste of fragrant cinnamon, molasses and homespun spices.
Back in the day, Iced Ginger Cookies were an easy, year-round cookie. We think our modern Iced Ginger Cookies are good for breakfast (maple icing with bacon bits) through late night snack (cream cheese frosting with salted caramel drizzle). Or, have them plain with your favorite cup of _______________ (insert favorite beverage here). My favorite is adagio peppermint tea. Enjoy!
- Ginger Cookies:
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- Cream Cheese Frosting with Salted Caramel Drizzle:
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Caramel Drizzle:
- ½ package (11 oz) wrapped caramels, unwrapped
- ¼ cup half and half
- Sea Salt Flakes
- Maple Icing with Bacon Bits:
- 1 (4 oz) package cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, powdered
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon maple flavored extract
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat baking mat.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Mix well.
- Add the melted butter, evaporated milk and molasses. Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until just combined. Add up to ¼ cup additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Scoop out spoonfuls of dough and put them about 2”evenly apart on your cookie sheet. Flatten the dough with your fingertips to about ¼” thick. Use a little flour on your hands, if necessary to prevent sticking.
- Bake for 10 minutes. When done, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. Maple Icing with bacon bits was our favorite.
- Roll the cookie dough in a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat softened butter and the cream cheese until well blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.
- For the Caramel Drizzle: Cook both ingredients in a small saucepan on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the caramels are completely melted and the mixture is blended.
- Frost cooled cookies with the Cream Cheese frosting and drizzle with the Caramel Drizzle. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes to the top.
- For the Maple Icing: Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in the powdered sugar and flavorings. Mix well. Frost cooled cookies with the Maple Icing and top with bacon bits.
For some other fantastic cookie recipes, please check out our Auntie’s Persimmon Cookies, Triple Chocolate Diablo Cookies or Oat Toffee Cherry Chocolate Cookie to name a few!