Wholesome Cook
Birthday + Entertaining

Christmas cookie madness: gingerbread spice mix, gingerbread cookie dough and… gingerbread ice cream!

There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked gingerbread… it reminds me of Christmas because that’s when I first started making gingerbread, at the tender age of six, from a little cookbook Santa left under the tree for me.

The best thing about this recipe is that it is all natural, additive free and can accommodate for most common food allergies such as gluten and dairy intolerances. Even the icing on the cookies is coloured using natural fruit and vegetable juices (beetroot, spinach, blueberry and carrot)! The second best thing about this recipe is the fact that nothing goes to waste: you can use the cooked leftover gingerbread dough scraps to make a delicious ice cream treat! Who doesn’t like a little ice cream? Even Santa might like some…

One word of warning: gingerbread may turn rock-hard for a couple of days after baking. This is natural as all the moisture has been drawn out of it during baking. It will start softening again by drawing moisture from the environment, so don’t be alarmed. Perhaps only bear in mind that you should gift it a few days after it’s been made.

Makes around 50 small cookies

{Printable recipe}

Gingerbread spice mix

Try to use the powdered spices where available, otherwise use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to pulverise. You can keep left over spice mix to add to banana bread or even a chocolate cake, or make an extra batch of cookies to share amongst your friends and family.

For the mix:

  • 5 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1½ tsp cloves
  • 1½ tsp cardamon seeds
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp star anise seeds (star pods discarded)

Place all powdered spices in a small bowl. Place all other whole spices and seeds into a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and work until they become powdery. Combine with the remaining spice powders, mix and voila! Your home made gingerbread spice mix is ready!

Gingerbread cookies with traditional icing:

Gluten and dairy free substitutes are indicated in the ingredient list.

For the cookie dough:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 150g honey
  • 60g butter
  • ½ egg (break, beat lightly then measure out a rough half)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbsp Gingerbread spice mix (see above)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

For the traditional gingerbread icing:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • (vege and fruit juices to colour)

To make the cookies: place butter // or margarine, honey, sugar and spice mix into a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring until the butter melts. Set aside to cool.

Sift flour, bicarb soda and cocoa into a large bowl. Add the cooled butter, sugar and spice mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs.

Start working the dough with your hands until it has come together, take out onto a flat surface and knead until the dough is pliable and uniform in consistency.

Roll out in batches in between two sheets of non-stick baking paper to around 5mm and cut out shapes as desired. I found these great themed gingerbread cookie cutters at House.

Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced, 350F, gas mark 4) and bake in batches for 6 to 8 minutes. If you’re planning to make the gingerbread ice cream, bake the left over scraps as well as that’s when they will come in handy!

To make the icing: beat egg white with sugar until glossy and stiff. Add colouring as required.

To decorate cookies: pipe onto cooled cookies with a piping bag, syringe or paint over with a clean paint brush. I used a toothpick to create the tiny dots once the icing has condensed a little. The glaze will harden over a couple of hours. To dilute just add a couple of drops of water and mix.

Gingerbread ice cream

Great tasting festive alternative to cookies and cream ice cream, that can be served on its own or with a hot apple pie.  

For the ice cream:

  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream // or dairy free or soy ice cream
  •  40g gingerbread cookies from the above recipe // or store bought ones

Crush the biscuits in a small zip lock bag, add to the icecream and mash quickly with a fork to combine thoroughly. Place back in the freezer to set.


Heidi - Apples Under My Bed December 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

Oh my!! This has made me so happy :) I love the idea of gingerbread ice-cream! I am planning on making gingerbread soon, so I could definitely make this too!
Heidi xo

Wholesome Cook December 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Thanks Heidi! Smiles all round :-)

Sylvia December 10, 2010 at 5:40 am

I second you Heidi! I’m an ice cream freak and feels awesome to know I can make my own “Christmas” ice cream =D <—– that's me!!

Wholesome Cook December 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Again it makes me very happy to know my “instant” ice cram idea has fans smiling from ear to ear :-)

Edvinas December 16, 2010 at 6:02 am

Yes this is the real gingerbread! No mollasses! Real honey! Woo hoo!

Wholesome Cook December 17, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Hi Edvinas, I’m glad you like :-) please enjoy!

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Laura (starloz) December 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

yummo, love this recipe

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide December 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

Gingerbread ice cream! Wow, your cookies look just amazing!

Anthia Galanis December 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

I love all things gingerbread-related – your cookies are brilliant – yummy to look at, am sure they are yummy to eat too!

Just A Smidgen December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I am having a serious bout of gingerbread cookie envy:) lol! These have to be just the prettiest I’ve seen, so much attention to detail! I love that your cookie cutter stamp out some of the design in the snowmen, etc, as well! Lovely all round!

Katie December 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Oh god I love gingerbread! And after seeing so many recipes for gingerbread icecream I definitely need to try yours. It looks so simple :)

Sugel December 28, 2011 at 6:19 am

Luckily, I had 8 containers of sprinkles to frost the 60 gingerbread cookies with. Unluckily, we didn’t have that much “icing.” Oops!

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