Dec 17, 2020

Gingerbread Men

Prep Time: 4 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Gingerbread men are classic Christmas cookies plus they make the house smell amazing.

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With crisp edges, a chewy center spiced with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, I always think they round out a box of assorted cookies. Decorating them makes for a great craft project with friends and/or children alike.

Gingerbread Men

12 days of christmas cookies gingerbread men with white icing decor

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

Molasses

Molasses, more commonly known in Europe as treacle, is a thick, dark syrup by-product made by refining sugarcane or sugar beets into sugar. There are three types of molasses: light (produced by the first boiling and is lightest in color and flavor), dark (from the second boiling and most common), and Blackstrap (which is less sweet and almost bitter in flavor). I recommend using dark molasses in this recipe – it gives gingerbread cookies their distinct color and texture.

Spices

Gingerbread cookies have a signature warming note created from a combination of spices. I use a mix of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg though some recipes also include clove or black pepper.

Brown Sugar

The terms light and dark brown sugar refer to the amount of molasses included in it. I use dark brown sugar for the gingerbread men. It contains 6.5% molasses (in comparison to 3.5% in light brown sugar). To get an accurate measurement, tightly pack the brown sugar in a measuring cup and level it off at the top.

How to Make Gingerbread Cookies

  1. Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg then set aside.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar. Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Next, add the molasses, egg and vanilla, beating well to combine. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed until well combined.
  4. Shape dough and chill. Shape the dough into a disc then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
  5. Heat oven. Heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  6. Roll out dough and cut cookies. Lightly flour a clean work surface then roll the dough out so it’s ¼-inch thick. Use a 5-inch cookie cutter to cut gingerbread men. Pull together the dough scraps and re-roll out to cut more gingerbread men.
  7. Bake the gingerbread men. Arrange 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake until they just begin to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks so the cookies can cool.
  8. Decorate and serve. Cool completely before decorating as desired. Store in an airtight container.
2 gingerbread men with white icing decor

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Decorating tips

  • I use a standard gingerbread men cookie cutter found here.
  • Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before decorating so the icing doesn’t slide off the cookies.
  • The cookies can be made a few days in advance before decorating.
  • Royal icing is good for decorating cookies because it sets hard.
  • I like to use sprinkles, candies or icing with a fine piping tip to decorate the gingerbread men.
  • Use the standard gingerbread cookie cutter and bend the cookies into yogi shapes as pictured below for a fun twist (no pun intended).

Serving ideas

gingerbread doing yoga poses

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this gingerbread men recipe, I recommend checking out these:

GIngerbread Men

Print Pin
Prep Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Serves 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ packed cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg then set aside.
  • Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the molasses, egg and vanilla, beating well to combine. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed until well combined.
  • Shape the dough into a disc then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
  • Heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • Lightly flour a clean work surface then roll the dough out so it’s ¼-inch thick. Use a 5-inch cookie cutter to cut gingerbread men. Pull together the dough scraps and reroll out to cut more gingerbread men.
  • Arrange 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake until they just begin to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • Cool completely before decorating as desired. Store in an airtight container.

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