These brown butter gingerbread shortbread cookies are made with toasty brown butter, warm & cozy gingerbread spices, and are festively decorated with an easy royal icing recipe! Whether you're decorating Christmas cookies, attending a holiday party, or leaving cookies out for Santa, these buttery gingerbread shortbread cookies are the perfect festive treat!
This post is sponsored by Truvia. All opinions are my own - thank you for supporting the brands that make Sturbridge Bakery possible!
These cookies were made using products from Truvia's sweet complete collection of products, specifically, the Sweet Complete Granulated All-Purpose Monk Fruiter Sweetener and Confectioners Sweetener. They are a one-to-one swap for sugar so baking couldn't be easier!
Why you will love these gingerbread shortbread cookies
- Warmly spiced flavors. These gingerbread shortbread cookies have the best flavor from toasty brown butter and cozy gingerbread spices. They are perfectly sweetened to balance the warm spices.
- Festive cookie decorating. Christmas season wouldn't be complete without decorating cookies! Make this recipe & invite your loved ones to decorate with you over a warm cup of hot chocolate.
- Fun gift idea. Gifting Christmas cookies is my favorite thing to do! It's fun to bake the cookies & wrap them festively, and it's always nice to give a homemade gift!
- All purpose flour: the primary structural component of the cookie dough, creating a soft & tender crumb.
- Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & all spice: these spices create the iconic gingerbread flavor that we all know and love.
- Unsalted butter: we brown the butter because it adds a toasty nuttiness to the flavor profile of the cookies.
- Sweetener: I used Truvia's Granulated All-Purpose Monk Fruiter Sweetener to add sweetness to the cookie dough. And I used their Confectioners Sweetener for the royal icing. You can also use the cane sugar variations of granulated/powdered sugar.
- Egg yolks: used to bind the shortbread ingredients together.
- Vanilla & molasses: used for added flavor & warmth.
- Heavy cream: should be used sparingly if the cookie dough is looking a little dry & crumbly.
- Meringue powder: used in the royal icing to create stiff peaks.
- Food coloring & sprinkles (optional): if you're interested in decorating these cookies, food coloring & sprinkles are helpful to jazz it up a bit with different colors & textures!
See recipe card for the full list of ingredients & their quantities.
- Brown butter. Add the butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, it will bubble up & then begin to foam up in the pan. Swirl the pan around, looking for brown bits & checking if golden brown. Remove from the heat & let it come to a room temperature consistency.
- Mix dry ingredients. Whisk together the all purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & all spice. Set aside.
- Beat wet ingredients. Once the butter has reached a room temperature-like consistency, beat it with the all-purpose sweetener until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and molasses and beat.
- Combine then chill. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & beat until combined. Add the heavy cream if necessary. Wrap the dough & chill for one hour.
- Roll out the dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it's about ¼ inch thick. Cut out as many cookies as possible, spacing them an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the fridge while you gently re-roll the scraps & repeat.
- Bake. Bake at 350F for 8-12 minutes until golden. The bake time will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutter you used. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Make royal icing. Beat together the confectioners sweetener, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
- Decorate! If desired, separate the royal icing into different bowls & mix with food coloring. Use a piping bag to decorate the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles, candy, etc., & enjoy!
Cookie baking & decorating tips
- Use a kitchen scale. I cannot stress this enough - a kitchen scale is the only way to ensure accurate results. They are cheap and will make cleaning up so much easier.
- Accurately measure the flour. One of the most common mistakes in baking is over-measuring flour. If you don't have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife. This will prevent the flour from being over-packed.
- Properly chill the dough. Proper chill time is key for rolling out the dough. Too soft and the dough can stick to your surface or break easily. Too long and the dough will be too cold and crack.
- Avoid working too much flour into the dough. When you are re-rolling the dough scraps & cutting more cookies out, try your best not to work a lot of flour into the dough. This will make the cookies really dry & more prone to cracking.
- Use piping bags. Piping bags will make cookie decorating so much easier with less clean up! Piping bags can usually be found in the baking isle at the grocery store, or find them on Amazon!
I would suggest chilling it for at least an hour so it's firm, but not more than three hours otherwise it will be too cold & difficult to roll out. If you chill the dough for longer than three hours, I would let it soften slightly at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to rolling it out.
It's likely that the dough was too warm. If you notice the dough is soft when rolling, place the baking sheet with the cut out cookies on it in the freezer for 5 minutes prior to baking. This will firm up the dough and it should hold its shape longer in the hot oven.
While Truvia's all purpose sweetener & confectioners sweetener adds to the flavor and texture, you can substitute for cane sugar granulated & confectioner variations if you prefer.
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh & soft for 3-4 days.
Baking in grams
I rely on gram measurements when testing recipes because they offer the highest level of accuracy (and less cleanup!). Unlike volume measurements, which can vary, grams provide a reliable and consistent standard. I carefully test all of my recipes using this kitchen scale, therefore I cannot guarantee the outcome when using volume measurements. However, volume measurements are available in the recipe card.
Other Christmas cookie recipes
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Brown Butter Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies
- 1 ¼ cups (283 grams) unsalted butter browned to ~1 cup or ~230 grams*
- 1 cup (200 grams) Truvia Sweet Complete Granulated All-Purpose Monk Fruit Sweetener
- 2 egg yolks room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 ¼ cups (281 grams) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground all spice
- ½-1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk if needed
- 1 ⅓ cups (160 grams) Truvia Sweet Complete Confectioners Sweetener
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 3-4 tablespoons room temperature water*
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- food coloring optional
- sprinkles optional
- To brown the butter, melt it completely in a pot over medium heat. It will begin to rapidly crack & sizzle - let it do this while stirring occasionally.
- After a few minutes or so, the butter will calm down and begin to foam up in the pan. Swirl the pan around, looking for brown bits & checking if the butter is golden brown. Once golden brown, immediately remove from the heat and pour the butter into a large bowl.
- Place the bowl in the fridge and gently stir every 10-15 minutes to ensure an even cool. Meanwhile, whisk together the all purpose flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all spice. Set aside.
- Once the butter has reached a room temperature-like consistency, it is ready. Beat the brown butter & granulated all-purpose sweetener together until light & fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, & molasses and beat until combined, scraping down the bottom & sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & beat until combined. Gradually stream in the heavy cream or milk if the dough looks a little dry & crumbly. You want it to completely come together into a smooth dough.
- Once combined, divide the dough in two & wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
- Working with only one half of the dough at a time, gently roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible, spacing them on the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart.
- Place the baking sheet in the fridge while you gently re-roll the scraps and repeat. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough as well.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer while you preheat your oven to 350F. Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes until lightly golden. The bake time will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutter you used.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the royal icing, beat together the confectioners sweetener, meringue powder, water, and vanilla extract, starting on low speed for 30 seconds, then at high speed for 4-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. You might need to add more water (to thin) or more sweetener (to thicken) depending on desired consistency.
- If desired, separate the royal icing into different bowls & mix with food coloring. Use a piping bag to decorate the cooled cookies. Add other decorations like sprinkles, candy, etc., and enjoy!
- We need at least one cup of butter after the browning process. Starting with a few extra tablespoons of butter will make up for the moisture that is evaporated when browning.
- You can sub the granulated all-purpose sweetener & confectioners sweetener with regular cane sugar variations if you wish.
- Try your best not to incorporate more flour into the dough when re-rolling the scraps. They will be very dry & more prone to cracking.
- If you are using cane sugar confectioners for the royal icing, you probably only need 1-2 tablespoons of water (instead of 3-4).
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!