These gingerbread men are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You will love their heavily spiced holiday flavor! Pair them with my Easy Royal Icing, and you will have a plate full of festive cookies ready for Santa!
Growing up, nobody in my family was a fan of gingerbread men. It was a tragedy. Because of that, we never made them in our house! We typically stuck to chocolatey desserts and sugar cookies. Spicy molasses flavors have always been my favorite Christmas flavor profile. So naturally I added gingerbread men to my holiday baking list the first year I moved out! Thankfully, my husband Daniel is a huge fan too. I married well.
These gingerbread men are easy to make and loved by everyone who tries them (including my non gingerbread loving family). They hold their shape well, don’t spread, and come out perfect every time!
Ingredient Line Up
- Unbleached, all purpose flour – This gives our gingerbread men (and women) their shape!
- Spices – I use a heavy hand with spices in this recipe! If you like a milder gingerbread, dial back the spices.
- Unsalted, room temperature butter – Make sure your butter is room temperature, not warm.
- Unsulphured Molasses – It provides that unmistakable, rich and sticky gingerbread flavor.
- Dark brown sugar – You can use light, but dark brown will add even more depth of flavor!
- Large egg, room temperature – It gives our cookies structure. To quickly bring your egg to room temperature, just place it in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes!
Tips for Gingerbread Success
- Chill your dough! Do not be alarmed when you notice how sticky the dough is! That is completely normal for gingerbread. Chilling your dough will make it easier to work with and help the cookies keep their shape. You need to chill for at least 2 hours, but the more time the better!
- Before chilling my dough, divide it in half. Then place each portion between two sheets of wax paper and roll the dough about one inch thick. This allows you to easily roll out the dough once it’s chilled. It also decreases your chill time since your volume is less!
Decorating Gingerbread Men
I like to keep my gingerbread decorations simple. For me, the star of the show is the spicy molasses flavor! I pipe on eyes, a mouth, and a few squiggles of clothes with a squeeze bottle and they are perfect in my eyes. If I’m feeling crazy I will add some Christmas sprinkles or candies. You could say I’m a gingerbread man purist.
If you are like my husband, however, you can’t add enough royal icing to gingerbread! Sometimes I will make other shapes to cover in icing in addition to the men. This results in a beautiful gingerbread cookie tray full of holiday shapes!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
- Add in the molasses and beat until combined.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla on high speed – about 1 minute.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients until they are just combined. Do not over mix!
- Divide the dough into two disks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill at least two hours. I usually chill mine overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats.
- Generously flour a work surface and roll one of the disks 1/4 inch thick. Don't be afraid to add more flour. Gingerbread dough can be sticky!
- Cut the dough into your desired shapes and bake about 8 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
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