Gingerbread Man Cookies

Updated: Feb 12

Soft, spiced cookies with honey and brown sugar! My favorite Gingerbread Cookies recipe.

Gingerbread cookies are one of the most popular Christmas cookies. Their fame is not only based on the popular tradition of making Gingerbread houses but also on their unique taste! A good gingerbread cookie recipe has honey, brown sugar and a bunch of spices. I find that one secret ingredient takes the cookies to another level!



How to make the perfect soft gingerbread cookie?


In general gingerbread cookies are easy cookies to make. With these few tips you will be able to enjoy soft, chewy cookies with slightly crispy edges.


  • Do not mix too much flour in the dough. This dough is going to be a little bit sticky and you will want to add more flour to make it easier to roll and cut but trust me, too much flour makes its rich flavor fade.


  • When the dough is cold to the touch it is ready to be cut. I recommend to use an offset spatula and lift up the dough from the underlying baking mat. It is even easier if you distribute some flour under the dough. The easiest way to do that is sprinkling some flour around the edges of the dough and then moving the spatula from the edges with the flour under the dough.


  • Cut the cookies with metal cookie cutters, I find them to be sharper and more robust compared to plastic ones. Another tip to easy remove the cookies from the dough is to dip the cookie cutter in flour every time before cutting a cookie.


  • To ensure cookies keep their shape chill cookies on lined baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before baking. Small fridge? I recommend to pack a lot of cookies together on one sheet and when they are cooled you can easily spread them on a different baking sheet.


  • I always turn on the oven when I place my first cookie sheet in the fridge. So that the oven will be preheated when the cookies are chilled.


  • Do not overbake your cookies! One important fact that most people forget is that cookies keep baking while cooling. The cookies are done when the edges are slightly darker and the surface looks set. Check on your cookies after 8 minutes and then every 2 minutes.




Gingerbread man cookies

Ingredients

3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup (150 g) packed dark brown sugar

10 Tbsp (145 g) unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup (170 g) honey

1 tbsp milk


for the icing:

1 large egg white

2 cups (250 g) powdered sugar

-or-

2 tbsp meringue powder plus 4 tbsp water

2 cups (250 g) powdered sugar, eventually more


INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1:

Start off with a big mixing bowl, add butter and sugar and cream them with a handheld mixer until creamy. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, honey, and milk. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Step 2:

Divide dough into two equal portions. Cover one half in cling wrap and place it in the fridge. Then roll the other portion evenly to a little bit less than 1/4-inch thickness in a rectangular shape on a silicon pat or baking paper. Chill the rolled out dough for about 10 minutes and roll out the other part.

Step 3:

When the dough is cold to the touch it is ready to be cut. I recommend to use an offset spatula and lift up the dough from the underlying baking mat. It is even easier if you distribute some flour underneath the dough. The easiest way to do that is sprinkling some flour around the edges of the dough and then moving the spatula from the edges with the flour under the dough. With every move you will distribute flour underneath the dough. That will keep the dough from sticking to the mat.

Step 4:

Cut the cookies with metal cookie cutters, I find them to be sharper and more robust compared to plastic ones. Another tip to easy remove the cookies from the dough is to dip the cookie cutter in flour every time before cutting a cookie.

Step 5:

To ensure the cookies keep their shape chill the cookies on lined baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before baking. I recommend to pack a lot of cookies together on one sheet and when they are cooled you can easily spread them on a different baking sheet. That is especially positive for small fridge situations. Cooling the cookies before baking makes them bake more equally and they will keep their shape while baking.

Step 6:

I always turn on the oven when I place my first cookie sheet in the fridge. So that the oven will be preheated when the cookies are ready. To bake the cookies space them at least 1 inch apart on a lined baking pan. Check on your cookies after 8 minutes and then every 2 minutes.

Step 7:

Do not overbake your cookies! One important fact that most people forget is that cookies keep baking while cooling. The cookies are done when the edges are slightly darker and the surface looks set. In case of doubt you can take them out of the oven and check if they are done after letting them cool. If you find them to be underbaked you can bake them again for 4 to 5 minutes.

I recommend letting the cookies cool completely on the baking pan since they are very fragile and can break easily while handling when still warm.

Step 8:

To make the icing, add powdered sugar and egg white in a medium sized bowl. Use a hand whisk or spatula to mix. When everything is well combined check the consistency of the icing. If it is too runny add some more powdered sugar. You want an almost paste like thick icing consistency. If using meringue powder add water and mix it until smooth. Adjust the thickness of the icing with powdered sugar.

Step 9:

Fill it in a piping bag right away since it dries quickly when left in the bowl. Instead you can cover the icing in the bowl with cling wrap directly covering the surface of the royal icing to prevent it from drying.

Tint with food coloring if desired. Decorate the cookies as desired!


Enjoy!

**Pro Tips**

  • Cocoa powder is an unusual ingredient for gingerbread cookies but trust me it bursts the color and flavor! Especially kids love this recipe with less ginger!

  • If you want your cookies to have a stronger ginger flavor, add up to 2 tsp of ground ginger.

  • Gingerbread man cookies will be hard directly after baking. Keep them in a cookie jar and they will soften after 2 days.

  • After icing the cookies let them dry for at least 2 hours before stacking them.

  • An alternative to royal icing is buttercream frosting. Check out my buttercream recipe here .

 

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