Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nauvoo Gingerbread Cookies

Here is another recipe I made over the Christmas holidays. It comes from the Scovil Bakery in Nauvoo, IL, which was originally built in the 1840's by Mormon pioneers. If you tour the rebuilt bakery, you will be rewarded at the end with samples of their world famous gingerbread cookies.

Truth be told, I have never been a fan of gingerbread. The gingerbread cookies I've tried have always been hard and over-spiced for my taste. However, this recipe is the exact opposite. The cookies are nice and soft, and the flavor is perfect. In fact, I have fallen in love with this recipe and think it makes the best gingerbread cookies on the planet. Not only do they freeze well, but they seem to even get better after they've been in the freezer for a while. 

This past Christmas, I made batch after batch for parties and to give to neighbors. As proof of the wonderfulness of these cookies, I've been asked for the recipe multiple times. Here are some Y cookies I made for a student party at work.

Go Cougars!
I also used this recipe for our annual Gingerbread House Extravaganza we celebrate with some friends. This may be one case where a hard-as-rock gingerbread recipe might work better. Or, I would at least advise baking the house pieces a little longer. We had a few problems this year, but we didn't mind eating the broken pieces. And, I was pretty impressed with our creation.

Our gingerbread house masterpiece
And now, for the big finale! After the holidays were over, we wondered what to do with our house. No one was really interested in eating it. As good as this recipe is, it does not stay nice and soft after sitting out as a Christmas decoration for almost a month. Here is what we came up with. It's now our new family holiday tradition.

Take a look.

Nauvoo Gingerbread Cookies
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, molasses, shortening, and hot water until smooth. Stir in eggs. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger; stir into the batter to make a soft dough. Add more flour if needed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies onto ungreased baking sheets. I found that the cookies came off even better when using silicone baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cookies appear dry in the center.


  1. That poor house! It was amazing, how dare you?!

  2. I love the Y cookie cutter! Did that come from the bookstore? I've got to get me one of those. And thanks for sharing the recipe. It's hard to find a good gingerbread!


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