These Gingerbread Cookie Cups with Cream Cheese Frosting are shaped like itty bitty muffins, but packed with all the holiday spice of gingerbread. Topped with cream cheese frosting and decorated with sprinkles, you’re in for a handheld dessert both adults and kiddos will love!
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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.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Soft and chewy.
- Feeds a crowd.
- Packed with holiday flavor.
- Unsalted butter: You’ll use butter for the cookies and the frosting. Is it a lot of butter? Absolutely, but ‘tis the holiday baking season!
- Sugar: Granulated sugar makes these cookies, well, cookies, but also adds moisture.
- Light brown sugar: For a touch more molasses flavor, I use ¼ cup of light brown sugar. You could substitute it for dark brown sugar instead.
- Molasses: Molasses gives these cookie cups their chewy texture and caramelized sugar flavor. You can use any molasses you like.
- All-purpose flour: Flour lends structure, ensuring these cookie cups don’t fall apart when taken out of the tin. If you’re gluten-free, try swapping in Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour.
- Ground cinnamon, ginger and allspice: This trio provides that quintessential gingerbread taste.
- Cream cheese: For the best flavor, use full-fat cream cheese.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract and cream cheese are a match made in frosting heaven, if you ask me.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this will make your frosting light, fluffy and creamy.
- Sprinkles: While these are optional for decoration, why not go with something seasonal like these holiday sprinkles?
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Heads up: You’ll need a mini muffin tin to make this recipe!
- Preheat the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a mini muffin tin using cooking spray.
- Make the cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg and molasses together for about 3 minutes or until well combined. Then, add the flour, spices, salt and baking soda and beat until just combined.
- Roll the cookie dough. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls. Then, place one ball into each muffin tin, pressing your thumb into the center to create an indent.
- Bake and cool. Bake the cookie cups for 10 minutes or until they’re lightly browned around the edges. Let cool in the muffin tin.
- Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Then, add in the butter and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Add the sugar and mix until creamy and fluffy.
- Decorate the cookie cups. Top the cookie cups with frosting and sprinkles and serve.
Pro Tip: For neat piping, place the frosting into a piping (or zipperlock) bag, snip off the bottom, and pipe the frosting onto the cookie cups in a dollop or swirl.
- A Tip for Room-Temperature Butter: For fast room-temperature butter, fill a drinking glass with hot water, then pour the water out. Immediately place the glass over the stick of butter and leave until the butter easily indents when touched.
- For the Cream Cheese: You can bring cold cream cheese up to room temperature by placing it in the microwave in 10-second increments. It should easily indent when pressed with your finger.
- Avoid Overbaking: It’s best to underbake the cookie cups, as they’ll continue baking while they cool in the muffin pan. The edges should just be lightly browned when you remove them from the oven.
You can store the cookie cups for up to 4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. I’d avoid frosting them until you’re ready to serve them, though.
You can also freeze unfrosted cookie cups. They’ll keep in the freezer for a few months in an airtight container (just allow them to thaw in the fridge before eating).
Frequently Asked Questions
While a baking sheet is best for baking flat, round cookies, a muffin tin (or a mini muffin tin) is excellent for making cookie cups that can cradle frosting in their centers.
The answer is: either! For roll-out cookies that you’ll cut into shapes and frost (or not!), you’ll want sturdier, crunchier gingerbread cookies. For chewy cookie fans, check out my recipe for Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies.
- Mini muffin pan
For the cookie cups:
- 1 cup 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 unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
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.
- For fast room-temperature butter, fill a drinking glass with hot water, then pour the water out. Immediately place the glass over the stick of butter and leave until the butter easily indents when touched.
- You can bring cold cream cheese up to room temperature by placing it in the microwave in 10-second increments. It should easily indent when pressed with your finger.
- It’s best to underbake the cookie cups, as they’ll continue baking while they cool in the muffin pan. The edges should just be lightly browned when you remove them from the oven.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
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