Tag Archives: gingerbread

Hutty Cutty Ginger Cookies

Yes, I know Halloween is past, but….

When I discovered that I had not put any gingerbread or ginger cookie recipes on Ancestors in Aprons, I realized what a serious oversight that was.  Gingerbread was a very early type of cookie* , and with the holidays coming, we want to find the best possible recipe for gingerbread boys. Today it is Hutty Cutty Cookies.

Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies decorated for Halloween

Stay tuned–this week, a recipe from the 1920’s America, next week, a German spice mixture for Gingerbread cookies, and the following week a genuine Ginger Cookie recipe from Germany that utilizes that special spice mixture.

I flipped through my go-to old recipe book**–the one that belonged to my Great Aunt Maude–and found not one but SEVERAL Ginger cookie recipes–Ginger Snaps, Soft Ginger Cookies, Molasses Wafers, Ginger Bolivars (like Ginger Snaps except with molasses instead of sugar), not to mention ginger cake and four kinds of ginger bread and Ginger Gems.

But the one I could not resist had the puzzling name of Hutty Cutty Ginger Cookies. What or who is Hutty Cutty? Beats me. Beats Google, too.  The closest I found to an answer was a letter to a Chicago newspaper asking about a children’s story from the 20s called Hutty Cutty. Sounds like a likely source, and if your researching skills are better than mine, PLEASE let me know who/what Hutty Cutty is and what it/he/she has to do with Ginger Cookies.

I like to compare lots of more modern recipes before baking or cooking an old recipe, and in this case I learned something from Joy of Cooking that I have somehow missed all these years.  Instead of rolling the cookies out on a floured cloth or sheet of whatever and transferring them to the pan–roll them out on a lightly-greased pan and cut them there. What a revelation!  It worked just great for these cookies.  Just don’t try it on a pan coated to be stick-proof, or you’ll damage the coating.

Although I don’t include the frosting in the recipe below, I frosted these with a simple confectioner’s sugar glaze (just mix in drops of water until you get the texture you want) and then sprinkled with orange sugar and made faces with one of those little tubes of decorating gel. It doesn’t go far and is rather expensive, so I’d recommend making your own, or dipping a toothpick in melted chocolate for the face on the jack-o-lantern.

Gingerbread Hutty Cutty Cookies

Serves 30+
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Halloween, Thanksgiving
From book Buffalo Evening News Cooking School Cook Book
Control the spiciness and make them soft or crispy--delicious gingerbread cookies.


  • 3/4 cups sugar ((white or brown))
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/8 cups molasses
  • 3/8 cups honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoons ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/4 cups flour


1. Whisk together flour, soda, baking powder and spices
2. Melt butter over low heat. Meanwhile, beat eggs. Let butter get cool and add, eggs and sweeteners.
3. Add flour mixture. Stir well. Put bowl in refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
4. When ready to bake, either roll and cut shapes, or form balls and flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in flour.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes--more if you like them crispier.


I made quite a few changes in the original recipe for Hutty Cutty Gingerbread Cookies from the Buffalo Cooking School Cook Book. First I cut it in 1/4 because the original called for 14 or 15 cups of flour, which would have had me baking all day! I used more flour than called for, because their proportions resulted in a very sticky mass. They did not suggest refrigerating the dough, so I don't know how you could roll it.

I changed the method of mixing, rather than creaming the butter and sugar, melting the butter and all the sweeteners blends them better in my opinion.

You control the spice mix. I added a bit of ground cloves to kick up the spiciness, and you can adjust as you like.  I also used brown sugar although the original recipe did not specify brown.

You also control crispiness by how thin you make the cookies and how long you cook them.  I rolled my cookies to slightly over 1/8" for cutting and baked just over 20 minutes (stoves vary, so you'll just have to keep an eye on them).  Mine came out soft, but not cakey, and have stayed a nice soft texture for several days.

The pumpkin cut-out cookies in the picture are approximately 3 1/2 " wide and I got 30 cookies, plus scraps to make a half dozen smaller round cookies besides.

The spice taste kicks up a bit after they have been stored in an air tight container for a while.

*For more history of cookies see the Kindle edition of Cookie: A Love Story: Fun Facts, Delicious Stories, Fascinating History, Tasty Recipes, and More About Our Most Beloved Treat, by Brette Sember.

**Still available from used book dealers:The Home Makers’ Cooking School Cook Book (It was apparently published by many newspapers, those who carried the author’s columns)

Note:  The links here lead to Amazon, because I am an Amazon affiliate. If you buy anything through those links, even though it costs you no more, I make a few cents to support Ancestors, and I thank you for your support.


Who Doesn’t Love Christmas Cookies?

We are talking about Christmas cookies all during December, so naturally I talked to my friend, Brette Sember, the cookie expert. She shares all she knows about cookies in  Cookie: A Love Story. Great title, isn’t it?

Well, we were both astounded to learn that we had a heritage cookie in common, which made me wonder–how many ways are there to make a sugar cookie?

Brette wrote last year for the site, Living Large in Our Little House, about the traditions of Christmas Cookies. Did you know that Christmas cookies reach back to the 1500’s? And it all began with the Gingerbread man! Brette says:

Gingerbread was a sim­i­lar food [to cookies], but laws restricted its bak­ing to guilds­man. How­ever at the hol­i­days these reg­u­la­tions were relaxed and peo­ple were allowed to bake their own at home, mak­ing a very spe­cial once-a-year treat…. Eventually [gingerbread] became asso­ci­ated with Christmas when spec­u­laas (gin­ger­bread cook­ies) were made into ani­mal and peo­ple shapes and used as hol­i­day decorations.

Christmas Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies cut with a Gingerbread Man cookie cutter.

When I asked Brette about heritage recipes, she replied:

The book [Cookie: A Love Story]  includes a very special sugar cookie recipe. My grandmother’s recipe is made with buttermilk and produces a soft, cake-like cookie that is unlike any I’ve had anywhere else.

They are a bit of a pain to make, since the dough is very sticky, so you freeze the dough before baking. My grandmother used to keep a plastic container of the dough in her freezer (which was on the bottom of her fridge) and when I was little, I used to sneak out there and eat it with a spoon like ice cream.

When she passed away, she left me her handwritten recipe notebooks and I discovered the recipe was her mother’s. Her mother-in-law, my grandfather’s mother, also gave her a very similar recipe, which uses sour cream instead of buttermilk and creates the same type of very soft cookie.

I found it fascinating that both families had the same recipe. They both lived in the same small rural area, but my grandmother’s mother (who was a Mennonite) was from Kansas so I don’t know if it is a recipe she brought with her or was given once she got here. This cookie is a special part of our holiday traditions and learning to make it is a rite of passage in our family.

My aunt once famously had to make the recipe in a hurry with no time to freeze it, so she set up a table in the garage and rolled the dough out there where it was cold.

Christmas Cookie Assembly line

Cookie Assembly line

As Brette and I discussed this heritage recipe from her grandmother, I realized that it was nearly identical to the soft sugar cookie from my Grandmother Vera’s recipe– which is the must-have cookie at our house. My grandmother used sour milk instead of buttermilk, and sprinkled in nutmeg for the flavoring. I’ll be sharing that recipe later. If you want to try  out Brette’s version and learn a whole lot more about Christmas cookies, you can follow the link to Living Large in Our Little House.

Read more of Brette’s cooking and decorating and travel and other things at Putting It All on the Table. And of course, I recommend that you add Brette’s interesting and comprehensive book on cookies to your kitchen library.

Do you make sugar cookies for Christmas? Are they crispy or soft? Do they use sour cream or buttermilk? What flavoring do you use?