Gingerbread Men

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  • Make these cookies for your friends, family … and just for yourself as they ooze the sights, smells and tastes of the holiday season! Warm and spicy flavors and a light and sweet icing come together to make these Classic Gingerbread Men! Dress up your Christmas cookie tray with these cute homemade cookies.

    gingerbread cookies on a serving plate

    Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man! At least I think that’s how it goes, right? Gingerbread men cookies are such a classic this time of year. The sharp and spicy flavor of the cookies is so reminiscent of the holiday season.

    You don’t even have to be a cookie pro to make these cookies look pretty. The decorating is so minimal, and the royal icing makes it easy.

    side view of broken gingerbread cookie

    Of course, you don’t have to stick to the traditional gingerbread shapes. You can make an number of different shapes too. Use a round cutter to make round cookies. You can even turn gingerbread men cookie cutters upside down and they look like a reindeer! Use different sized gingerbread cookie cutters to make a whole gingerbread people family.

    Gingerbread Men Ingredients

    Don’t let this long list intimidate you. A lot of them are spices and pantry staples that you probably already have on hand!

    • Butter – This is used in the base of many cookie dough recipes.
    • Light brown sugar – If you only have dark brown sugar on hand, you could definitely use that instead, however just be prepared for the flavor of your gingerbread man cookies to be stronger.
    • Molasses – This dark golden syrup is what gives gingerbread cookies their characteristic warm, sweet and somewhat smoky flavor.
    • Egg – The eggs bond with the flour in order to hold these cookies together. They also help to give the cookies their chewy texture.
    • Vanilla extract – Vanilla is something that just adds a little extra flavor to your cookies. It mellows out the strong flavor of the molasses.
    • Baking soda and baking powder – Baking soda helps to make these cookies light and fluffy, while baking powder helps them to rise and spread.
    • Spices – These classic gingerbread men use ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. The warm spices really round out the flavor and make the most delightful cookies!
    • Powdered sugar – now onto the icing. You might also see this referred to as icing sugar. Both are interchangeable, they are just a very fine sugar that dissolves easily.
    • Milk – Milk will help to ensure that your icing is creamy and smooth.
    • Corn syrup – I always use a light corn syrup here. You can to keep your icing as bright white as possible.
    • Food coloring – This is, of course, optional. You are more than welcome to leave your icing white, but adding in some green or red is always fun too.
    close up of an iced gingerbread cookie

    How to Make this Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

    Gingerbread Men:

    1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Next add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until everything is just combined.
    2. Next onto the flour mixture. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Once mixed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients.
    3. Now you need to chill the dough. Chilled dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much when baked, thus keeping their shape. So wrap up the dough and put the dough in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.
    how to make gingerbread cookie dough

    1. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to 3 hours.
    2. Once the dough is chilled, you can start rolling out the dough on a generously floured work surface. The dough should be approx. ¼ of an inch thick, and it is better to work in small batches.
    3. Then use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out the gingerbread men shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the dough has been cut.
    4. Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes or just unit the edges of cookies are set.
    5. Remove and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
    gingerbread cookie cutout

    Royal Icing:

    1. Now we make the icing! Add the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. The icing should be thick enough that it will hold its shape when piped. If it’s too think and you feel like you need to add more milk, add in 1 teaspoon increments. If it needs to be thickened, add powdered sugar in 1 teaspoon increments.
    2. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled, then add the frosting to a piping bag equipped with a small round piping tip (I used a Wilton #2 tip). Pipe frosting onto the cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles, mini m&ms or any other desired candy/decorations or candies.
    gingerbread cookie cutout recipe

    Storage & Freezing

    Most people don’t realize that unfrosted sugar cookies are actually very freeze friendly. Wrap them as well as possible and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

    You can freeze frosted cookies, but sugar cookie icing has the tendency to get hazy or crack. Your best bet is to make the cookies, freeze them and then decorate after thawing.

    To store frosted sugar cookies, place them in an airtight container at room temperature away from direct sunlight. You can place pieces of parchment between each layer to prevent the icing from sticking, but honestly, after it sets, royal icing is pretty solid.

    gingerbread cookie recipe for pinterest
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    With basic pantry ingredients and some crushed peppermint, you are on your to making these delicious and festive Peppermint Sugar Cookies!
    Nutter Butter Santa Cookies
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    close up of gingerbread men cookies
    gingerbread cookies on a serving plate
    Print Recipe
    5 from 7 votes

    Gingerbread Men

    Warm & spicy flavors and a light and sweet icing come together to make these Classic Gingerbread Men! Dress up your Christmas cookie trays!
    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time6 mins
    Chilling Time1 hr
    Total Time1 hr 16 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men
    Servings: 24 cookies
    Calories: 176kcal
    Author: Brittany Keller

    Ingredients

    Frosting:

    Instructions

    Gingerbread Cookies:

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, add the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Mix until just combined.
    • Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix until just combined.
    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.
    • Add half of the dry ingredients into the stand mixer and mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 30 seconds to make sure everything is combined.
    • Place a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to 3 hours.
    • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees/F and prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with non-stick spray and parchment paper and set aside.
    • Working in small batches, roll out a piece of dough on a generously floured surface. The dough should be approx. ¼ of an inch thick.
    • Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out the gingerbread man shapes and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Continue with all the dough. (NOTE: make sure your surface is very well floured, or even work on a silicon mat to keep the dough from sticking.)
    • Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes or just unit the edges of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If the cookies start cracking when you try to move them, wait a few more minutes before transferring.

    Frosting:

    • Add the powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla into a small bowl and whisk until combined and smooth. The frosting should be thick enough that it will hold its shape when piped. If you feel like you need to add more milk, add in 1 teaspoon increments. If you need a thicker consistency, add powdered sugar in 1 teaspoon increments.
    • Once the cookies are cool, add the frosting to a piping bag equipped with a small round piping tip (I used a Wilton #2 tip). Pipe frosting onto the cooled cookies. Top with sprinkles, mini-M&M’s or any other desired candy/decorations.
    • Serve immediately or keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
    classic gingerbread men cookies

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