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Gingerbread Men

5 stars based on 4 votes

gingerbread-men

Before I started this blog, I baked and decorated special occasion desserts so it’s no surprise that I love to decorate holiday cookies. Once I get started, I can get into “the zone” for hours, happily wielding colorful icing bags and sparkly candies to create everything from dapper gingerbread men to ornate snowflakes. But while it’s easy to make lovely-looking holiday cookies, it’s a challenge to make them taste good too. Usually, the prettier a cookie is, the worse it tastes. And gingerbread cookies are the worst offenders — more often than not, they taste like cardboard. But that’s not the case with these adorable gingerbread men (and gals). Crisp outside and soft inside, they taste as good as they look.

ingredients

To begin, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper in a medium bowl.

dry-ingredients

Whisk to combine.

dry-ingredients-1

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer.

butter-and-sugar

Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

creaming-butter-and-sugars

Beat in the egg and molasses.

mixing-in-egg-and-molasses

Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

adding-flour

The dough will be quite sticky.

sticky-cookie-dough

Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to a few days.

discs-of-dough

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Roll, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary, to about 1/8-inch thick.

cutting-gingerbread-men

Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.

ready-to-bake

Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

cooling-gingerbread-men

Use royal icing or store-bought icing to decorate the cookies.

decorating

Let the icing set, then enjoy!

gingerbread-men-1

 

Gingerbread Men

Servings: About 45 cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes, plus at least 1 hour to chill the dough and time to ice the cookies

Ingredients

  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • Royal icing or store-bought icing, for decorating

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour or up to three days.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F; set two racks near the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If the dough has been in the fridge for longer than an hour, you'll need to let it sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes and knead it briefly until it is supple enough to roll.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Roll, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary, to about 1/8-inch thick (or for softer cookies, roll to 1/4-inch thick). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, using a spatula if necessary. Gather the dough scraps and knead into a ball, then roll out and cut again, adding more flour as necessary. Repeat until scraps are used up.
  6. Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing. Let the icing set completely, a few hours, then store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 cookie without icing
  • Calories: 78
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 73 mg
  • Cholesterol: 12 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • Can you freeze the cookie dough? How would you go about thawing it?

    - D on February 4, 2017 Reply
    • Hi D, Yes, it can be frozen. I’d divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls, and then flatten them into disks (like pie crust). Before taking, thaw the dough until pliable and then proceed with recipe.

      - Jenn on February 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Loved this recipe! Just finished making and decorating with my friend’s 8 year old. Made and chilled the dough last night and it was easy to work with and delicious! Thanks

    - Kathy on December 23, 2016 Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this recipe! Instead of cookies, I would like to bake the batter in a square tin. Do you have an idea of how long the cooking time should be if the oven is at 350? [or should I experiment?]

    - Samantha on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Samantha, It’s hard to say since I’m not sure how large the tin is, but I’d start checking around 15-20 minutes. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 23, 2016 Reply
  • Hi – what will the black pepper add to the cookie? Will I taste it? Thanks for your reply.

    - Jennifer on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • You won’t taste it at all, Jennifer — it just adds a delightful little kick. Feel free to leave it out or reduce it if you’re nervous about it but I always use black pepper in ginger cookie recipes.

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I don’t remember the last time I baked, but decided to make these cookies with my daughter. Excitedly we bought all the ingredients and cookie cutters and followed your recipe. Cookies came out perfect and delicious! Not too spicy or over powering, soft and perfect with tea. Thank you!

    - Anna Sanab on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • So glad, Anna!

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Tried them out this weekend and came out just as described. Soft on the inside but a nice crisp edge. However, my baking time was extremely short, about half the time that was specified. What might be the reason for this because they were completely cooked?

    - Kayley on December 18, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kayley, Could you have rolled them very thin? Or could your oven be running hot?

      - Jenn on December 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these little guys this weekend with my children, they were a hit. Exactly as you described, crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle.

    - Nicole on December 11, 2016 Reply
  • Thank you for the recipe. you didn’t mention what oven temperature they need to be baked at. I asssume 350?!

    - Dina on December 11, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Dina, Yes, 350°F (it’s about halfway through the recipe since the oven doesn’t get preheated in the beginning). Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 11, 2016 Reply
  • Can you use this recipe to make a ginger bread house?

    - Jeanette on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jeanette, Yes but definitely roll the dough on the thicker side (about 1/4-inch) and bake longer until the cookies are completely firm.

      - Jenn on December 9, 2016 Reply
  • Can you just drop scoops of the dough and make round cookies rather than cutouts? I find it rather cumbersome to do

    - Priya on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Priya, If you’d like to make drop cookies, I’d reduce the flour to 2-1/3 cup, and roll them in sugar (preferably turbinado or raw sugar) before baking.

      - Jenn on December 9, 2016 Reply
  • I can’t WAIT to make these! I’m still searching for that perfect gingerbread wo/man – as you said, crispy but chewy.

    I just saw Dorie Greenspan speak, and she recommended rolling out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, and THEN chilling b/c it’s so much easier to roll when it’s warm… I’m going to try it. THANKS!

    - Sally on December 8, 2016 Reply
  • Is this suitable for a gingerbread house? Or is it too tender to be sturdy. I would be using one of the gingerbread house cutter sets.

    - Liz on December 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Liz, I don’t think I’d use it for a gingerbread house as is. However, if you roll it a little thicker (about 1/4-inch) and cook it longer (until firm), it should work.

      - Jenn on December 8, 2016 Reply

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