Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies a.k.a. Shane Christmas Cookies

Making Christmas cookies is a time-honored holiday tradition in many homes, and it’s one of my personal favorites. I recall many years of baking cookies with my mom during the month of December. We didn’t really have a signature family cookie, but we made all the usuals — sugar cookies, Hershey Kiss cookies, peanut butter fudge, snickerdoodles . . . oh so many yummy cookies. I come by my sweet tooth honestly!

When I married into my husband’s family, they also had a family Christmas cookie tradition. My mother-in-law made an assortment of homemade cookies every December and served them on Christmas Day. I always left her house feeling like I didn’t need to eat again for a week. Even though she made several kinds, there was one cookie that stood out above all the rest in their house . . . these Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies.

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

We don’t even call them gingerbread cookies; we just call them Shane Christmas Cookies. This is the only time all year that my husband ventures into the kitchen to cook more than a fried egg.

He was always a part of the Shane family cookie making tradition in his house, so he considers himself an expert. We have to make these cookies HIS WAY. And… get this. He insists that the ONLY way to frost and decorate these cookies is to do it IMMEDIATELY when they come out of the oven.

Do you know what happens when you frost piping hot cookies? The frosting melts and runs all over the place.

But this is the ONLY way it can be done. Ahem.

After 20 years, I have given up trying to persuade him otherwise. I just make the dough and step aside. He and the kids do the rest. So last weekend, in preparation for this post, we all gathered in the kitchen for the making of the Shane Family Christmas Cookies.

Hallmark sent me an adorable box of goodies to aid our cookie making project. We each donned an apron and got to work. Unfortunately our cookie baking endeavor got off to a rocky start.

I let my son do some of the measuring while I was busy getting pictures of my outfits for another post. Can you visualize this? Oh, yes, this is how we roll around here!

So while I was “modeling”, my 15-year-old son was throwing ingredients into the mixing bowl.

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies Recipe: Even the kids get in on the fun!

Somehow . . . mysteriously, the dough turned out too soft. We ended up salvaging it by adding more flour and returning it to the fridge for a while, but it was quite a circus until we got our mojo back. You can see how R was piecing this Christmas tree back together right here.

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies Recipe: making cookies with kids

Ahhh… family memories. Ain’t they grand???

Of course, it doesn’t really matter if the shapes are recognizable because they all get slathered with melted icing anyway.

The kids were thrilled when it was time to decorate them, and I even got in on the action this year.

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies Recipe: cookie decorating

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies Recipe: cookie decorating

They may not be the prettiest cookies ever, but they taste divine . . . I mean, these cookies are truly delicious. The zing of the ginger and the sweetness of the frosting is a match made in heaven. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I’ll share the recipe below, in case you care to try it. (HINT: We usually double this recipe.) Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies Recipe: This holiday cookie recipe is delicious and fun to make as a family!

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar (packed in cup)
  • 2/3 Cup Molasses
  • 1/3 Cup Crisco shortening – melted
  • 2 ¾ Cup sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • Icing
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Dash salt
  1. Beat egg well. Blend in brown sugar, molasses, melted shortening.
  2. Sift flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger together – stir into the molasses mixture. Mix well.
  3. Place in refrigerator to chill for hour or more.
  4. Roll dough ¼-inch thick on lightly floured cloth covered board. Cookies look more attractive thick.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes at 375º. (Don’t overbake.) Ice immediately.

This post is sponsored by Hallmark. All opinions and sticky fingers are my own.

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33 Responses

  1. This is a fantastic post! Your pictures are beautiful and what a lovely family moment you captured. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I’m excited to decorate cookies with the kids this year. They would love these!! I got ninja cut outs to make ninja bread men for my little karate guy!

    1. YUM. Growing up, we always did sugar cookies too. I like both equally but after we get through this project every year, I’m never in the mood to do another batch of sugar cookies.

  3. You may not react as much to organic flour. There’s a post running around about how the wheat industry uses glycophosphate as a part of the harvesting process and that it is possible that we’re all reacting to the pesticides not the gluten itself.

    Worth a try. I’ve pitched all my non-organic flour and had much fewer reactions…

  4. And I found a Panera style shortbread recipe for our cookies this year–YUM! It’s at JustAPinch.com. Perfect shortbread every time though it was a surprise that you cut the cookie shapes out after you bake them rather than before. Makes for VERY clean edges and lots of scraps for eating or shortbread pie crusts.

    1. How interesting! Both of your comments. I definitely would love to know about this organic vs non-organic flour issue. How lovely would it be to eat my own homemade baked goods! lol

    2. Would you please give the name of the recipe for the shortbread cookies at just a pinch? I went looking for it, but there are so many I couldn’t find the one you were referring to.

  5. These look amazing. I will try making them Gluten free with Jules gf all-purpose flour. Most of my recipes convert very easily using this flour mix!

  6. Jo-Lynne! I love that even your ‘big kids’ are in the kitchen helping. SO fun. And honestly? The fact that your dough wasn’t perfect makes me feel better about our own cookie mis-steps. . . so THANK YOU for always being so open and honest with us–LOVE your posts!

  7. Try using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free baking flour (it’s already got the xanthan gum in it so you don’t have to add it) and substitute unsalted butter for the shortening (Crisco is so bad for your body! It’s like eating plastic) or try using coconut oil (it comes in a consistency similar to Crisco.

    My son has been GF for the last 13 years. It’s so much easier now because I can buy a lot of gf products that weren’t available in 2003.

    Jolynne, do you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance?

    1. Thanks for those recommendations! I know Crisco is nasty. I only buy it for these. I’ve been afraid to try anything else for fear of messing up the family recipe. 🙂 Same with GF flour. I haven’t had much luck with GF baking so I usually just go without. But it would be nice every ONCE in a while.

      I do not have Celiac. I tested negative, but gluten really messes with me so I steer clear.

  8. Jo-Lynne
    Are you GF too? Try king Arthur measure for measure flour. GF and great baking results. Merry Christmas!!!

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