Nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies. And while the addition of ground ginger and molasses to these festive sweets may win them fans and enemies alike, one thing is certain: Add cream cheese frosting to the equation and I can guarantee you all of the gingerbread cookie lovers and haters will be running in your direction.
Cookie cups are my favorite kind of cups. They’re flavorful, yet functional. Sweet, yet sensible. They have a job to do. A job that requires them to hug that tangy cream cheese frosting so tight that every bite yields a bit of cookie and a bit of frosting. This is not an either-or situation. This is an either-and situation.
So for all of the gingerbread cookie naysayers out there, I ask you to give these humble (and yet so soft and chewy) cups a chance. If nothing more, consider them an edible portal that transfers cream cheese frosting from the bowl to your mouth. It’s all about efficiency. And I bet you like efficiency … especially if it’s of the edible type.
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Gingerbread Cookie Cups with Cream Cheese Frosting
FOR THE COOKIE CUPS:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons molasses
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
- Equipment: Mini muffin pan
MAKE THE COOKIE CUPS:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a nonstick mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg and molasses until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and baking soda and beat just until combined.
Using your fingers, pinch off 1-tablespoon pieces of dough and roll them into balls. Place the cookie dough balls in the muffin pan then make an indentation by pushing your thumb into the centers of the cookie dough balls. Bake the cookie cups for about 10 minutes until they’re lightly browned around the edges. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely in the muffin pan. (See Kelly’s Note.)
MAKE THE FROSTING:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add the butter and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until it’s thick and creamy.
Once the cookie cups have cooled completely, slather or pipe the frosting on top of each cookie cup. Top the cookie cups with sprinkles and serve.
It’s best to underbake the cookie cups, as they’ll continue baking while they cool in the muffin pan.