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These Gingerbread Cookie Mug Toppers are the best way to finish off your coffee or hot chocolate! They’re deliciously spiced gingerbread cookies, perfectly designed to sit on the edge of your favorite mug. Give them as gifts, or keep them all to yourself and enjoy throughout the holiday season!
Gingerbread Mug Huggers
There is nothing that signifies the holidays more than the smell of spiced gingerbread cooking in the kitchen. I make it a point to make at least a few batches every year–one for gingerbread houses, another for cut-out cookies like this gingerbread tree, and then maybe a fun variation like chocolate gingerbread cookies. Basically, if it’s December, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find me with a giant canister of ground ginger in my hands, and that’s the way I like it!
I’m always on the lookout for new ways to enjoy my favorite Christmas cookie flavor, though, so this year I decided to experiment and make these adorable Gingerbread Cookie Mug Toppers.
These cookies have everything you love about traditional gingerbread cookies — the soft-but-chewy texture! The robust spices and ginger flavor! The royal icing decorations! — and one big improvement: a small notch at the base that lets them sit firmly on the edge of a glass. These cookies hug your mug and I could not be more obsessed!
☕️ What’s the Deal with Mug Toppers?
What can you do with these Gingerbread Cookie Mug Toppers? Obviously they’re perfect as a tea-time or after-dinner treat: brew a pot of coffee or tea (or whip up some hot chocolate!), add a cookie or two to the rim, and dip as you sip. The cookies are sturdy enough to withstand a good dunking, and there are few things more enjoyable than the combination of cookies and coffee.
The novelty and cute presentation of these cookies also make them an excellent edible gift. Package them in airtight bags and give them to teachers and friends with a mug and gourmet coffee or hot cocoa mix.
You can also serve them at holiday parties, or bring them to a Christmas cookie exchange. (And if you do that, let us know how it goes so we can add “award-winning” to the list of this cookie’s accomplishments!)
Finally, don’t forget to leave a few of these out on the plate for Santa. I’m not saying it’ll sweeten your stocking, but I’m not saying it won’t. *exaggerated wink*
In addition to staples like flour, baking soda, and butter, here are a few tips about the ingredients you’ll need:
- Spices: This recipe calls for a LOT of different spices: you’ll want ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. For many of us, these are spices we reach for a few times a year, at most. Spices rarely go rancid, but they do lose their flavor and potency over time. Before you begin baking, give them a sniff, and if they smell off or weak, buy a fresh jar. This cookie gets all of its flavor from the spices, so it’s important that the spices are fresh and flavorful!
- Molasses: For this recipe, you want to use unsulphered molasses. Grandma’s Molasses is the most common brand and is often found in the baking aisle of large grocery stores. Blackstrap molasses is more bitter and is not a good substitute in this recipe, unless you know for sure that you love the taste of blackstrap.
- Brown sugar: The recipe calls for light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar is also completely fine to use.
Here’s what you need to make these cute mug huggers! (The following are all affiliate links, and I earn a small commission from your purchase.)
- Cookie cutters: I used the Christmas tree and snowman from this set of 3D cookie cutters. No special cutters? No problem! You can use regular Christmas cookie cutters and cut a notch in the bottom with a sharp knife.
- Baking sheets: I love this half sheet pan from USA Pan–it’s heavy-duty, sturdy, and fits a ton!
- Parchment paper or Silpat:A half-sheet Silpat is the perfect nonstick cookie solution.
- Piping bags and round tips: I like these disposable piping bags (I wash them and re-use them to reduce waste!) and used a #2 piping tip for the cookies.
These cookies are made in 3 parts: making the dough, baking the cookies, and decorating with royal icing (optional but very cute!). You can get full, printable instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s a quick overview of the steps.
Make the Gingerbread Cookie Dough
- Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Combine the butter and brown sugar, and mix them together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the molasses and mix it in. (Pause here and enjoy the amazing smell.)
Mix in the egg and vanilla. At this point, the mixture might look broken (as in the picture on the right). This is normal! Do not panic.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing just until combined.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and chill for at least three hours. Several days is okay too!
Bake and Decorate the Gingerbread Cookies
Once the dough is chilled and firm, you can get rolling! Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface until it’s about 1/4-inch thick.
- Cut your shapes out with the cookie cutters. If you’re manually making the notches in the bottom, use a real mug to decide how wide to make them, and make sure to leave a little extra room to account for the cookies spreading.
- Place the cookies on a parchment-covered baking sheet, leaving a few inches between cookies.
- Bake at 350 F for 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, decorate with royal icing, if desired. Let the icing harden, and serve!
💡 Tips and FAQs
Here are some answers to common questions. If you have a different question, feel free to leave it in the comments below!
Substitutions & Variations
- Spices: You can slightly alter the gingerbread spices without affecting the overall taste. For instance, if you don’t like the taste of cloves, you can omit the cloves spices. You should not omit the ginger or the cinnamon.
- Orange: Adding the zest of an orange deepens the flavor and adds a wonderful citrus undertone. Add the orange zest at the same time you add the vanilla extract.
- Maple: If you like the taste of maple, you can substitute real maple syrup for vanilla extract.
Make-Ahead and Storage Instructions
This dough can be made ahead and frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap each dough disc in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer zip-top bag to prevent freezer burn. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator and start at step 6.
Halving the Recipe
There are ways to halve this recipe. You could freeze one of the discs of dough (see above), or cut the recipe in half. When dividing a recipe that uses one egg, the best way to get an accurate measurement of half an egg is to whisk the egg well, then divide the whisked egg in half.
❤️ More Christmas Desserts You’ll Love
- Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peppermint Affogato
- Oreo Cookie Christmas Ornaments
- Christmas Present Cookie Boxes
- Pull-Apart Cupcake Wreath
- Red Velvet Trifle
- Grinch Cake
- Snow Globe Cupcakes
Soft Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Christmas Pinwheel Cookies
Don’t miss the step-by-step tutorial showing how to make Gingerbread Cookie Toppers – check out the web story here!
Gingerbread Cookie Mug Toppers
For the Gingerbread Cookies:
- 13.5 oz all-purpose flour, (3 cups)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
- 1 TBSP ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 6 oz unsalted butter, (¾ cup or 12 tbsp), softened to room temperature
- 3.75 oz light brown sugar, (½ cup packed)
- 5.75 oz unsulphered molasses, (1/2 cup), measure ounces by weight, not volume
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Royal Icing:
- 8 oz powdered sugar, (2 cups), sifted
- 1.5 TBSP meringue powder
- 3-4 TBSP water
To Make the Gingerbread Cookies:
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and spices to combine and set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed, about 2 minutes, until creamy. Add molasses and continue to beat on medium speed until the mix is a uniform brown color, 30-60 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add egg, vanilla extract, and mix on a medium-low until combined. Mixture will be wet.
- Move the mixer to a slower speed and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Mix until just combined. You’ll know it’s combined when you no longer see streaks of flour.
- Divide dough in half and form two discs of the dough using your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight and up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper to set aside.
- Roll dough out to about ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface and cut using 3D cookie cutter shapes. Place on a baking sheet ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes, one baking sheet at a time, on the middle rack. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can decorate them with royal icing (optional).
- Place on the edge of your favorite mug and enjoy with a cup of coffee!
To Make the Royal Icing:
- Add confectioners sugar and meringue powder to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together and add in 1 tbsp of water at a time.
- Whisk until the mixture has the following consistency: When you lift the whisk up, the icing will hold a ribbon, meaning it is firm enough to hold the shape of a drizzle falling from your whisk and slowly disappear back into the mixture.
- If you begin to pipe your icing and find that the mixture is too firm, add 1 tbsp of water to your mixture at a time. If it’s too runny, add ¼ cup of confectioners sugar to the mixture until you reach the desired thickness.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.