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Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

Sourdough gingerbread cookies decorated with icing sugar on a baking parhcment sheet.
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Thicker and softer Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies are how we love our ultimate Christmas treats to be! Full of warming spices and treacly flavours from the brown sugar, gingerbread cookies are not only delicious but certainly a fun cookie to make! This is an overnight recipe though, so it will require some patience, but all good things are worth waiting for, right? Make the sourdough discard cookie dough in the evening, then chill it in the fridge overnight. Bake, ice and enjoy the next day!

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Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies (No Molasses)

Traditionally, gingerbread cookies are made with molasses – thick, dark brown juice obtained from raw sugar during the refining process. However, not all typical home cooks have molasses in their store cupboards, and that’s why we decided to use a more common ingredient – golden syrup instead. Whilst the flavour of the molasses isn’t strong in these biscuits (you still get some from using brown sugar), the flavours of the spices make up for it!

If you do have molasses though, feel free to use it! It will only make your sourdough gingerbread tastier!

Equipment Needed

To make these Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies you will need a few things to help yoU along with the process:

Ingredients

  • light brown sugar: is our preference, but you may use dark brown sugar for a stronger molasses flavour.
  • unsalted butter: make sure your butter is at room temperature, as you will need to cream it with sugar using a mixer.
  • golden syrup: can be substituted with molasses or clear honey.
  • egg: large in the UK, extra-large in the US.
  • vanilla bean paste: or vanilla extract. We love Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • plain flour: also known as all-purpose flour.
  • sourdough discard: unfed sourdough starter that hasn’t been fed for 2-3 days. However, avoid using a very old starter that has liquid forming on the surface – it will be too acidic.
  • bicarbonate of soda: not to be mixed up with baking powder.
  • salt
  • ground ginger
  • mixed spice
Ingredients for Sourdough Gongerbread on a wooden chopping board.

Method

Make The Sourdough Gingerbread

Using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup until it’s thick and creamy (about 2 minutes) in a large bowl.

Add the egg and sourdough starter discard and beat again until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, mixed spice and a pinch of salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until combined. The dough will be rather sticky, and that’s ok.

Sticky sourdough discard gingerbread mix wrapped around the mixer beaters.

Divide the dough into two and flatten each piece. Wrap them in clingfilm and place them in the fridge to chill for 6-24 hours (or simply overnight).

Rolling, Shaping and Baking Cookies

Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it to warm up for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan.

Dust the kitchen surface with flour and place one piece of chilled sourdough gingerbread dough on top. Roll it out into a large sheet, approx 0.5cm thick. Make sure to dust the surface of the worktop and the dough as you roll to prevent it from sticking.

Using cookie cutters, stamp out as many cookies as you can. You can then reroll the scraps. Repeat with the second piece of gingerbread dough.

Brush away any excess flour from the biscuits and place them on baking parchment-lined baking sheets/ trays.

Bake the sourdough cookies for 8-10 minutes. Leave the cookies to cool down completely on the baking sheets.

Icing

To make the icing, add the icing sugar to a medium bowl. Add 3 tbsp of milk to start with and mix to combine. If the mixture is too thick to be piped, add a little more milk. Once the desired consistency is reached, divide the icing between small bowls, and add food colouring to each.

Icing in three white bowls: one with green, one with red food colouring and one with nothing added.

Icing Variations

If you want to add flavour to your icing, the best way to do so, without altering its colour of it, is to add essences and extracts. We love sourdough gingerbread iced with the added flavours of:

  • Orange Blossom Water
  • Almond Extract
  • Ginger Extract

Pipe the icing on your cooled sourdough gingerbread cookies and leave them to set!

Iced gingerbread cookies on baking sheets.

Recipe FAQs

Can I Use Honey Instead of Golden Syrup?

Absolutely! Reduce the amount to 45g, and make sure to use clear runny honey. Alternatively, you may use treacle or molasses.

Can I Roll Out and Bake The Cookies Before Chilling The Dough First?

No, once you make the dough you will see that, whilst it is thick, it is really rather sticky and you will not be able to roll it out. Chilling is needed so that the butter in the dough solidifies, making the dough stiffer. What is more, baking unchilled biscuits will result in them spreading out and the butter leaking out of the dough.

Can I Use Royal Icing To Decorate Sourdough Gingerbread Instead?

Yes, you can! It may be a more traditional icing for gingerbread. We personally like softer, less crunchy milk-based icing but feel free to make royal icing or even a thin sugar glaze.

Other Sourdough Discard Recipes

We have a whole selection of Sourdough Discard Recipes, but some of our favourite Sweet Sourdough treats include:

Recipe Card

Sourdough gingerbread cookies decorated with icing sugar on a baking parhcment sheet.

Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies

Thicker and softer Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies are how we love our ultimate Christmas treats to be! Full of warming spices and treacly flavours from the brown sugar, gingerbread cookies are not only delicious but certainly a fun cookie to make! This is an overnight recipe though, so it will require some patience, but all good things are worth waiting for, right? Make the sourdough discard cookie dough in the evening, then chill it in the fridge overnight. Bake, ice and enjoy the next day!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Resting Time 10 hrs
Total Time 10 hrs 27 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Christmas
Servings 45 cookies
Calories 80 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 180 g light brown sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter softened
  • 60 g golden syrup
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 400 g plain flour
  • 100 g sourdough discard
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • tsp mixed spice

Instructions
 

  • Using a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup until it's thick and creamy (about 2 minutes) in a large bowl.
  • Add the egg and sourodugh starter discard and beat again until fully combined.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, mixed spice and a pinch of salt.
  • Add the dry ingredinets into the butter mixture and mix until combined. The dough will be rather sticky, and that's ok.
  • Divide the dough into two and flatten each piece. Wrap them in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for 6-24 hours (or simply overnight).
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it to warm up for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 170° C Fan.
  • Dust the kitchen surface with flour and place one piece of chilled sourdough gingerbread dough on top. Roll it out into a large sheet, approx 0.5cm thick. Make sure to dust the surface of the worktop and the dough as you roll to prevent it from sticking.
  • Using cookie cutters, stamp out as many cookies as you can. You can then reroll the scraps. Repeat with the second piece of gingerbread dough.
  • Brush away any excess flour off the biscuits and place them on baking parchment-lined baking sheets/trays.
  • Bake the sourdough cookies for 8-10 minutes. Leave the cookies to cool down completely on the baking sheets.
  • To make the icing, add the icing sugar to a medium bowl. Add 3 tbsp of milk to start with and mix to combine. If the mixture is too thick to be piped, add a little more milk. Once the desired consistency is reached, divide the icing between small bowls, and add food colouring in each.
  • Pipe the icing on your cooled sourdough gingerbread cookies and leave it to set!

Notes

These Gingerbread cookies keep well for up to a week in airtight containers. 

Nutrition

Calories: 80kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 89IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Gingerbread with Sourdough Starter, Sourdough Christmas Cookies, Sourdough Cookies, Sourdough Discard Cookies, Sourdough Gingerbread, Sourdough Gingerbread Cookies
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