Have you ever had a fantastic gingerbread cookie? Yeah, me neither. Albeit messy, gingerbread is one of those rare foods that children are actually permitted to play with. Thus, in general, I feel that gingerbread desserts have been relegated to edible Christmas legos that make little kids happy as they build gingerbread houses and decorate them with loads of candy and frosting, however, rarely do they end up eating the actual gingerbread. But no worries—I found a way where us adults (and kids) can have a delicious gingerbread “cookie” and eat it too…
So, what happens when you take homemade gingerbread cookie dough and combine it with the idea of an inverted cupcake? You get heaven in the form of dessert and pure delight for your taste buds. I’m just going to go with my instincts here and call these sweet treats my gingerbread cream cheese frosting cupcake cookie bites (say that three times fast).
These little gingerbread cupcake cookies are a perfect holiday dessert for many reasons. For starters, they’re very easy to make. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the dough from scratch like me, I suggest using Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough—it’s a practical and timely alternative. These little cookie cupcakes pack in the mature holiday flavor with spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves (optional), and cinnamon; yet they aren’t too spicy as the cream cheese frosting—which can be enjoyed with every bite, unlike real cupcakes—offsets the bold taste from the dough with a sweet and creamy touch. In addition, this dessert is very easy to personalize with your preferred holiday colored frosting and sprinkles. I kept mine simple, but never be afraid to think outside the box when baking in the kitchen.
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting Cupcake Cookie Bites
-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons ground ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/8 teaspoon of clove (if desired; this is an optional spice)
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
-3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
-1/4 cups white sugar
-1/2 cup molasses
-1 egg at room temperature
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 regular sized container of whipped cream cheese frosting (or be awesome and make your own)
-Holiday sprinkles of your choosing
*Note: you will need a mini cupcake tin, mini cupcake lining papers, and some type of utensil that can poke a hole through the mini cookie cup cake. I used the end of a corn on the cob holder, but the end of most cooking utensils will work, just be aware that you may have to work with the dough a bit.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Line your mini muffin tins with cupcake liners
-In a large bowl, combine the flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Mix together with a whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside.
-Either in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, mix together the butter and sugars until creamy.
-Add to the mixing bowl the egg, vanilla, and molasses and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated and creamy (and be careful with the molasses—it can make a mess).
-Slowly add in the flour a few cups at a time until the mixture resembles dough (the picture below is what my gingerbread cookie dough looked like when ready).
-With your hands (make sure you wash them prior to this step), measure out about a tablespoon and a half to two tablespoons worth of dough. Roll the dough in between the palms of your hands until a nice little ball forms. Place the ball in the cupcake liner that’s already lining the tin.
-Continue the previous step until you have filled your trays. I had leftover dough and decided to freeze it for a later time.
-Bake the balls of dough for about 8 minutes. Remember, times vary depending on the oven, so make sure to watch the contents.
-About a minute after you have removed the cup-cookie, insert the utensil you decide to use into the middle of the cookie. This sounds a lot more difficult than it is. You basically want to create an even hole in the middle of the cookie, but make sure not to poke through to the bottom, as you don’t want your icing to fall through. I find the end of my corn on the cob holders to work best, but I used to use the end of some of my cooking utensils. Don’t be afraid to work and perfect the hole with your fingers.
-Repeat the last step until each cup-cookie has a hole-like opening in the middle.
-Next, either with a pastry bag or a ziplock bag filled with the icing with a corner cut off, fill the holes of the cup-cookie. You don’t want the frosting hanging over the sides, so be careful.
-Sprinkle your desired holiday themed sprinkles and voila!