Make charming gingerbread cookies with these vintage recipes from the 1950s

Classic gingerbread cookie recipes from the 1950s

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Gingerbread cookies: A centuries-old Christmas tradition

This time of year, we love to indulge in the traditional and time-honored holiday tradition of making and decorating gingerbread cookies. For those of us who like to do everything the old-fashioned way, check out these two vintage recipes from the 1950s!

The first recipe — Gingerbread Fancies — are pretty decorated cut-out Christmas cookies with that famous warm gingerbread flavor. We also found a slightly different recipe for gingerbread cookies with a fall spice blend that tastes like holidays.

Classic gingerbread Christmas cookies
Photo by vladans/Envato

Gingerbread Fancies Christmas cookies (1959)

Classic gingerbread Christmas cookies

Gingerbread Fancies Christmas cookies

Yield: 72
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

In this vintage recipe from the 1950s, find out how to make Gingerbread Fancies — pretty decorated cut-out Christmas cookies with that famous warm gingerbread flavor.


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Put butter or margarine and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Heat molasses in a small saucepan to boiling; pour over butter and sugar; add vinegar; stir until well blended.
  3. Set aside to cool. When cool, add egg. Sift dry ingredients together; stir into liquid; mix well. Chill overnight.
  4. Roll out on well-floured pastry cloth or board to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with floured, shaped cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets; brush with cold water.
  5. Bake in moderate oven (350 F) 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire cake racks.
  6. Decorate cooled cookies with frosting made by combining 1 cup sifted confectioners' (powdered) sugar and about 2 tablespoons of water until of consistency to put through a pastry tube.


Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Chilling time: Overnight

Baking time: 8-10 minutes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 72 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 88mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

Gingerbread Fancies Christmas cookies (1959)

ALSO SEE: 28 classic gingerbread house ideas: Get inspired & find out how to make your own

Classic gingerbread cookie recipes (1953)

Clinton Daily Journal and Public (Clinton, Illinois) December 1, 1956

There’s something special in the air these days and it is a warm, spicy fragrance — a redolent indication that Christmas is not far away.

In home ovens throughout the land, cookies for the cookie jar and cookies for the yule tree are baking. Decorating trees with cookies is a delightful old-fashioned, Old World tradition. Since the days of Martin Luther, the residents of Europe have baked cookies in assorted shapes and sizes to give touch of gaiety and color to their holiday trees…

SEE MORE: A collection of classic Christmas cookies from the ’50s

Classic gingerbread cookie recipe from the 1950s
Picture by twenty20photos/Envato

In Belgium, for example, the dough is baked in the forms of angels and Santa Claus, and in Moravia, in the shape of animals and birds. The cookies have a variety of flavors — anise,  almond, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, and even black pepper.

The most popular of all Christmas cookies, however, are those flavored with ginger. Fragrant and crisp, gingerbread cookies are as much a part of the yule season as the tree itself.

Recipe from the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (Pennsylvania) December 10, 1953

Classic gingerbread cookie recipe from the 1950s

Gingerbread cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes

Here's a classic gingerbread cookie recipe from 1953


  • 1/2 cup soft shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups black molasses
  • 1/2 cold water
  • 6 cups sifted flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, seperated
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk or water
  • Food coloring


  1. Combine shortening, sugar, and molasses. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Stir in 1/2 cup cold water.
  3. Sift flour with 1 teaspoon salt, allspice, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, and stir into the shortening mixture.
  4. Stir in soda dissolved in cold water.
  5. Chill dough.
  6. Roll out very thick -- about 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a 2-1/2-inch round cutter.
  7. Place far apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake in moderate oven (350 F) 15 to 18 minutes, or until when touched lightly with a finger, no imprint remains.
  9. To make the simple icing, blend together confectioners' sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, vanilla, and enough milk or water to thin to the desired consistency.


Yield: 2-2/3 dozen fat, puffy 2-1/2-inch cookies.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 357mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 3g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

BONUS: Let the littles play along! Gingerbread men coloring page templates

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