What Temperature Should You Bake Gingerbread Cookies?

Who says it has to be the holidays to enjoy the sweetened spice of gingerbread cookies? These adorable golden-brown shapes are often decorated with icing and taste of spices and "deep, moody sweeteners," which come from the use of brown sugar and molasses, per MasterClass.

Gingerbread cookies benefit from either light or dark molasses, per Joy of Baking. The light and dark labels define the colors and tastes of the product, but light is usually the optimal choice for baking, according to Savory Experiments. Light molasses is also sweeter, while its dark twin is more bitter, though the latter is a solid choice for those who want their gingerbread cookies to taste less sweet, as noted by TheKitchn.

There's a spotlight on molasses for a reason, as it affects the baking time of gingerbread cookies (via TheKitchn). This begs the question: At what temperature should you bake gingerbread cookies? We'll let you in on the sweet secret.

Aim for a lower heat

TheKitchn encourages all bakers to aim for 325 degrees Fahrenheit when baking gingerbread cookies. Why? Because the molasses, as well as the use of brown sugar, can make cookies taste bitter and burnt if the oven is cranked up too high. They further explain that 325 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure "crisp edges and soft centers," but how long should you bake the cookies for?

Both Epicurious and Better Homes & Gardens explain that 15 minutes is sufficient at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can always keep the cookies in the oven for a few minutes longer if needed. MasterClass also insists on this temperature and states that the cookies should "puff up" in the middle before you take them out. The beloved chewy texture actually comes from the centers shrinking back down after the cookies come out of the oven.

Textural contrast is important with gingerbread cookies, and it can easily be achieved by baking them at the above temperature. Just don't forget the royal icing after the cookies cool!