Make these little gingerbread men cookies for Christmas. They're soft and tender on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside and perfectly spiced with gingerbread, a hot spice mix, and decorated with an easy and homemade royal icing.
If you like all Christmas gingerbread recipes and shortbread recipes that are part of the Christmas tradition and which we like to do with the children during vacations, then you'll love making this gingerbread men recipe in your holiday baking.
Made with gingerbread-flavored cookie dough, a hot spice mix of cinnamon ground, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and the molasses flavor that gives, a combination that gives all its wonderful taste to these soft gingerbread cookies.
Gingerbread cookie recipes have a softer texture than simple sugar cookies, and this is my favorite gingerbread recipe that I use in all of my cookie recipes, as in this recipe for a mini gingerbread house or this snowflake cookie.
Only the shape is different, they are cut with cookie cutters which gives them their gingerbread men shapes, and which are decorated with my easy homemade sugar glaze.
Put on your apron to make these little Christmas gingerbread cookie recipe to have fun decorating them with the kids during vacations and to give as gifts during the holidays or just to enjoy.
Ingredients and substitutions
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe and possible substitutions, scroll down to see the quantities in the recipe card.
Gingerbread cookie dough
- Butter: Use only room temperature, unsalted butter, you can warm it up slightly in the microwave before using.
- Sugar: Preferably brown sugar such as dark brown sugar or cane sugar.
- Eggs: at room temperature.
- Molasses: essential to get the gingerbread flavor, but you can always replace the blackstrap molasses with a mixture of honey and maple syrup (golden syrup).
- Flour: White wheat all-purpose flour that you can replace with another flour or a gluten-free flour mix to make a gluten free version.
- Yeast: Essential for soft cookies, baking soda or baking powder.
- Spice: A gingerbread mix, or simply cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. For a more intense ginger flavor, you can use fresh grated ginger instead of ground ginger.
- Vanilla and salt: pure vanilla extract or a packet of vanilla sugar and salt are essential to bring out the flavors.
Optional: You can replace ¼ of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder to have a chocolate gingerbread flavored dough, add almond extract, citrus fruits, orange zest, juice or extract.
Royal icing is a white icing used to decorate cookies and shortbread with a piping bag. It is a very quick and easy recipe to make and you can easily color it with gel food coloring.
Sifted powdered sugar is mixed with a liquid, usually a very small amount of water until a thick, slightly fluid icing is obtained.
⚠️ You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
How to make gingerbread men
1 - Cream butter and sugar
- Place the softened butter and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer or stand mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and molasses (or honey-maple syrup mixture) and beat again to combine.
2- Add dry ingredients
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt and the spices of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and if possible sift them.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
- And mix again with a mixer at medium speed until you get a homogeneous dough.
- Gather the dough with your hands until it forms a smooth and slightly sticky dough.
- Cover the gingerbread dough ball with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Tip: To go faster, you can immediately roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes before cutting.
4 - Cut out the men
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3 mm.
- Cut out gingerbread man shapes with the cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Tip: To get perfect shapes, you can place the dough sheet in the freezer for a few minutes before making your cuts.
5 - Baking
- Preheat oven to 347°C / 175°C and let the cookies bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown.
- Remove the baked gingerbread men from the oven and let them cool a bit on the baking sheet before moving them to a plate or cake rack to cool completely.
Tip: When they come out of the oven, the cookies are still a little soft, but they will harden a little as they cool.
Place powdered sugar in a container with water and beat with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes until thick and fluid.
To add color to your icing, separate the royal icing into small bowls and add your food coloring and mix with a fork until the color is well blended.
Decorate gingerbread cookies with a piping bag filled with royal icing. Decorate immediately with sugar or sugar decorations before icing hardens.
Let the gingerbread men cookies dry for about 1 hour at room temperature before eating them.
Gingerbread men can only be stored at room temperature in an airtight container box with a tight-fitting lid and protected from moisture.
You can also prepare the cookies in advance and store them for up to 3 months in the freezer without the sugar glaze.
More Christmas cookies
More spicy and gingerbread recipes
- Carrot cake with cream cheese
- Pumpkin pie
- Pumpkin streusel muffins
- Carrot bread recipe
- Pumpkin bread with streusel
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