50 Gingerbread Treats

Make some fun sweets with this favorite holiday flavor.

Insert and Spread_ 50 Gingerbread Treats

Pictured above clockwise: Gingerbread Pudding (No. 33), Gingerbread Eggnog (No. 14), Gingerbread Cheesecake Tart (No. 26), Gingerbread Baklava Bites (No. 28), Gingerbread Blondies (No. 21), Gingerbread Peanut Brittle (No. 45)

Gingerbread Spice: Mix 2 tablespoons each ground ginger and cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and finely ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. (Makes about 5 tablespoons.)

1. Gingerbread Scones Pulse 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup almond flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse in 1 stick diced cold butter. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots and pulse until just combined. Pat into an 8-inch round on a floured surface; cut into 6 wedges and brush with a mixture of 1 tablespoon each molasses and buttermilk. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees F until golden, about 15 minutes.

2. Gingerbread Granola Whisk 1/3 cup each maple syrup and melted coconut oil with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir in 2 cups rolled oats, 1 cup each sweetened shredded coconut and crushed hazelnuts, 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet; bake at 325 degrees F, stirring halfway through, until toasted, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in 1/3 cup each white chocolate chips and dried cherries. (Makes about 5 cups.)

3. Mini Gingerbread-Banana Muffins Whisk 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1 stick melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup each sour cream, raisins and mashed ripe bananas and 1 teaspoon vanilla; whisk into the flour mixture. Divide among 36 lined mini-muffin cups; sprinkle with chopped candied ginger. Bake at 350 degrees F, 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Gingerbread-Banana Pancakes Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup milk with 1 egg, 1 mashed ripe banana and 4 tablespoons melted butter; whisk into the flour mixture. Cook 1/4 cupfuls in a hot buttered skillet until golden brown. (Makes about 12.)

5. Gingerbread French Toast Sticks Cut 4 thick slices challah bread into 1 1/2-inch sticks. Whisk 1 cup half-and-half, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons each gingerbread spice and vanilla and a pinch of salt. Add the bread; soak 30 seconds. Remove and cook in a hot buttered skillet until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

6. Bruleed Gingerbread Grapefruit Combine 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar and 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice; sprinkle on 2 halved grapefruits. Broil until the sugar is lightly browned and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.

7. Gingerbread Candied Bacon Put a rack on each of 2 baking sheets; arrange 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon slices on each rack. Bake at 375 degrees F until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Microwave 1/2 cup brown sugar with 2 teaspoons water until melted, 1 minute; stir until smooth. Brush on the bacon; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice and 1 teaspoon hot paprika. Bake until browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Gingerbread Toast Mix 2 teaspoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice. Sprinkle on 1 slice hot buttered toast.

9. Gingerbread Cream Cheese Beat 8 ounces softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup each chopped walnuts and dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons each maple syrup and chopped crystallized ginger and 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice.

10. Gingerbread Danishes Make Gingerbread Cream Cheese (No. 9), omitting the nuts and cranberries; mix with 2 egg yolks. Roll out 1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a floured surface; cut into 4 squares. Dollop each with 1/3 cup of the gingerbread cream cheese. Fold the corners into the center to meet; brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 20 minutes.

Insert and Spread_ 50 Gingerbread Treats

Gingerbread Coffee Cake (No. 11)

11. Gingerbread Coffee Cake Beat 1 1/4 sticks softened butter and 1 cup granulated sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons each molasses and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon each baking soda and salt; beat into the butter mixture in batches, alternating with 1 cup sour cream. Pour into a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Mix 3/4 cup flour with 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice and a pinch of salt; work in 5 tablespoons cubed cold butter. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool.

12. Gingerbread Fruit Smoothie Puree 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup each frozen cubed mango and pineapple, 1/2 frozen sliced banana, 2 gingersnaps and 1 teaspoon each molasses and honey in a blender.

13. Gingerbread Hot Chocolate Heat 2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon each gingerbread spice and molasses in a saucepan, whisking occasionally, until steaming. Whisk in 2 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate until melted. (Serves 2.)

14. Gingerbread Eggnog Whisk 6 egg yolks with 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Heat 3 cups milk, 1 cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming, stirring occasionally. Whisk half of the hot milk into the eggs, then whisk the mixture back into the pan. Continue to cook, whisking, until thickened, 10 minutes (do not boil). Chill. Add rum if desired. Serve drizzled with molasses. (Serves 6 to 8.)

15. Gingerbread Pumpkin Lattes Whisk 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon each gingerbread spice and vanilla in a saucepan. Whisk in 2 1/4 cups milk and 1/4 cup espresso. Bring to a simmer. Serve topped with whipped cream and more gingerbread spice. (Serves 2.)

16. Gingerbread Soda Simmer 2 cups water, 1/2 cup each granulated and dark brown sugar, 1 cup sliced fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, 12 allspice berries and 3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns until syrupy, 25 minutes. Cool, then strain. For each drink, mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of the syrup with 1 cup cold seltzer in an ice-filled glass. (Makes 1 1/4 cups syrup.)

17. Gingerbread Lemonade Make the syrup for gingerbread soda (No. 16). For each drink, mix 1/4 cup each syrup and lemon juice in an ice-filled glass. Add 1/2 cup cold seltzer.

18. Gingerbread Manhattan Make the syrup for Gingerbread Soda (No. 16). Mix 1/2 cup rye whiskey, 1/4 cup of the syrup and 2 tablespoons sweet vermouth in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into 2 martini glasses and add a few dashes of orange bitters.

Insert and Spread_ 50 Gingerbread Treats

Gingerbread Sweet Rolls (No. 19)

19. Gingerbread Sweet Rolls Unroll one 11-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons each gingerbread spice and sugar. Reroll and slice crosswise into 7 pieces. Arrange in a buttered 9-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, about 18 minutes. Whisk 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 teaspoons each molasses and water; drizzle over the warm rolls.

20. Gingerbread Palmiers Pulse 1 gingersnap, 1 egg yolk, 4 tablespoons diced butter, 2 tablespoons each unsweetened cocoa powder and granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice in a food processor until a smooth paste forms; spread on a sheet of thawed frozen puff pastry. Fold in 2 opposite sides to meet in the middle; fold into the middle again. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees F until golden, 15 to 18 minutes.

21. Gingerbread Blondies Melt 2 sticks butter; let cool slightly. Whisk in 2 cups dark brown sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon each gingerbread spice and vanilla. Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans. Spread in an oiled foil-lined 9-by-13-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool.

22. Gingerbread Chocolate-Toffee Cookies Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice and 1 teaspoon each baking soda and kosher salt. Beat 2 sticks room-temperature butter with 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons each vanilla and molasses. Beat in the flour mixture, then stir in 2 cups chocolate chips and 1/2 cup toffee chips. Roll into large balls (about 24). Arrange 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool.

23. Shortcut Gingersnap Cookies Beat one 16.5-ounce tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough with 1/3 cup molasses, 1/4 cup flour and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice. Drop tablespoonfuls (about 24) 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F until just set around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. Cool.

24. Gingerbread Cake Whisk 1 cup each molasses, sugar and vegetable oil with 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger. Dissolve 2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water; add to the molasses mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 teaspoon each gingerbread spice and salt; whisk into the molasses mixture, then whisk in 2 lightly beaten eggs. Pour into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F until the top springs back when lightly pressed, about 40 minutes. Cool.

25. Persimmon and Gingerbread Trifle Make Gingerbread Cake (No. 24); cut one-third into 1 1/2 -inch chunks (6 cups). Mix 1/3 cup ginger preserves with 2 tablespoons hot water; toss with 3 chopped ripe persimmons. Place half of the cubed cake in a trifle dish, then top with 1 cup prepared vanilla pudding, 1/4 teaspoon gingerbread spice and half of the persimmons; repeat the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream.

26. Gingerbread Cheesecake Tart Mix 1 1/2 cups finely ground almond biscotti, 5 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice. Press into the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 10 to 15 minutes; cool. Beat 8 ounces cream cheese with 3/4 cup speculoos (cookie butter) and 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice with a mixer until fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form; fold into the cream cheese mixture. Spread in the crust; refrigerate until firm. Sprinkle with more gingerbread spice.

27. Chocolate-Gingerbread Macaroons Whisk 3 egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Fold in one 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut. Scoop tablespoonfuls (about 30) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool.

28. Gingerbread Baklava Bites Bake 15 mini phyllo cups as the label directs; cool. Toast 1/4 cup each finely chopped almonds and walnuts in 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons each water and honey, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 1/2 teaspoons gingerbread spice and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 minutes; spoon into the phyllo cups. Cool.

29. Cranberry-Gingerbread Quick Bread Whisk 1/2 cup each vegetable oil and sour cream with 1/4 cup molasses and 2 eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and salt. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour into a buttered 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 minutes. Cool.

30. Gingerbread Apple Crisp Toss 6 chopped peeled Golden Delicious apples with 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon each flour and gingerbread spice; spread in a buttered 2-quart baking dish. Mix 1 1/4 cups flour with 3/4 cup each oats and brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and gingerbread spice. Work in 2 sticks room-temperature butter until crumbly; scatter over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees F until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes.

31. Mini Gingerbread Cherry Pies Mix 1 cup ground speculoos cookies (Biscoff) with 4 tablespoons melted butter and 2 teaspoons each gingerbread spice and sugar. Press into the bottoms and up the sides of 6 buttered muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees F until set, 10 minutes; cool. Simmer 1 cup drained jarred sour cherries, 1/3 cup juice from the jar, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in a saucepan until thick, 5 minutes; spoon into the crusts. Cool.

32. Gingerbread Bread Pudding Quarter 8 croissants and drizzle with 4 tablespoons melted butter on a baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees F, 10 minutes; transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Whisk 6 eggs, 4 cups half-and-half, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pour over the croissants. Cover; bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden and set, 15 minutes. Cool.

33. Gingerbread Pudding Whisk 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Slowly whisk in 2 1/4 cups whole milk and 3 egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon each vanilla and molasses. Divide among small bowls. Chill. Top with whipped cream and crushed gingersnap cookies.

34. Gingerbread-Banana Parfaits Make Gingerbread Pudding (No. 33); layer in glasses with sliced bananas, whipped cream and crushed gingersnap cookies.

35. Gingerbread Rice Pudding Combine 1 1/2 cups each cooked rice and half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup half-and-half, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 beaten egg and 1 teaspoon each gingerbread spice and vanilla. Cook, stirring, until warm (do not boil). Let cool slightly. Chill.

36. Gingerbread-Raisin Rice Pudding Make Gingerbread Rice Pudding (No. 35), adding 1 teaspoon orange blossom water and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom with the vanilla. Top with chopped pistachios and golden raisins.

37. Gingerbread S’mores Top 4 gingersnap cookies with 1 marshmallow each; top 4 more cookies with 1 chocolate square each. Broil on a baking sheet until the marshmallows start browning. Sandwich together.

38. Gingerbread Applesauce Combine 1 pound each chopped peeled apples and pears, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons gingerbread spice and the juice of 1/2 lemon in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer until soft and thickened, about 20 minutes. Puree until smooth.

39. Gingerbread-Lemon Crepes Brush melted butter on 4 store-bought crepes; spread with lemon curd and sprinkle with gingerbread spice. Fold into wedges. Heat 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice in a large nonstick skillet. Add the crepes and cook, turning once, until lightly caramelized, about 6 minutes. Top with whipped cream and more gingerbread spice.

40. Gingerbread-Rum Icebox Cake Beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in 2 tablespoons dark rum and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread 1 heaping teaspoon on each of 24 gingersnap cookies, pressing the cookies together on their sides as you go to make a log. Cover with the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

41. Gingerbread Sundae Syrup Heat 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup molasses, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until smooth. Cool slightly. Serve over ice cream.

42. Gingerbread Ice Cream Spoon 1/2 cup speculoos (cookie butter) in small scoops over 1 pint softened gingersnap or ginger-molasses ice cream in a large bowl. Freeze 20 minutes; gently fold to combine. Drizzle 1/4 cup caramel sauce and 2 tablespoons molasses over the ice cream. Freeze about 20 more minutes. Stir once or twice, then freeze again until firm.

43. Gingerbread Truffles Bring 1/3 cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice to a simmer in a saucepan. Pour over 6 ounces finely chopped milk chocolate; let melt, 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 6 hours. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls (about 12); roll in crushed gingersnap cookies.

44. Gingerbread Phyllo Pouches Make Gingerbread Truffles (No. 43); freeze until firm after rolling in the gingersnaps. Generously brush 1 thawed frozen phyllo sheet with melted butter; sprinkle with sugar and gingerbread spice. Repeat with 2 more phyllo sheets, stacking as you go. Cut into 6 squares and press each into a muffin cup. Add 1 truffle to each and gather the phyllo together to enclose the truffle; brush with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden, 10 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar.

45. Gingerbread Peanut Brittle Bring 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup water and 3/4 cup dark corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Cook until a candy thermometer registers 260 degrees F. Stir in 2 cups salted peanuts and 1 tablespoon butter. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Stir in 2 teaspoons each baking soda and gingerbread spice. Pour onto a buttered baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Let cool completely, then break into pieces.

46. Gingerbread White Chocolate Bark Chop 1 pound white chocolate; melt all but 1 cup in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining 1 cup chocolate until melted. Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with foil, shiny-side up; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Let set; break into pieces.

47. Gingerbread-Bacon Spiced Nuts Whisk 1 egg white with 2 tablespoons each brown sugar and maple syrup, 2 teaspoons each gingerbread spice and chili powder and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add 2 cups unsalted mixed nuts and 4 slices chopped cooked bacon; toss. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 325 degrees F, stirring twice, until dry and golden, about 30 minutes.

Insert and Spread_ 50 Gingerbread Treats

Gingerbread Caramel Corn (No. 48)

48. Gingerbread Caramel Corn Heat 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup molasses, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon and ginger in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until smooth. Toss 12 cups popcorn with 3/4 cup of the gingerbread syrup; spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Bake at 325 degrees F, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool.

49. Gingerbread-Pomegranate Fizz Bring 1 cup each water and pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup each sugar and grated peeled fresh ginger, the zest of 1 lemon (in wide strips), 1 cinnamon stick and 1/4 teaspoon each ground allspice and nutmeg to a simmer in a medium saucepan; cook 5 minutes. Cool, then strain into 4 ice-filled glasses. Top with cold seltzer.

50. Gingerbread Punch Mix 2 cups apple juice, 1/2 cup each vanilla vodka and gingerbread liqueur, 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger, 3 wide strips lemon zest, 1 cinnamon stick (broken in half) and a pinch of cayenne in a small pitcher; refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve in ice-filled glasses; top with cold seltzer.

Photography by Ralph Smith