Gingerbread Men Cookies
Decorating gingerbread men is the perfect after school/after homework holiday activity! Ask a grown-up helper (GH) for help making the dough the night before so it can refrigerate all night and during the day. When you return from school, it will be ready for baking and decorating.
Below, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has shared this delicious gingerbread recipe that he likes to make with his daughter. He says, "When I make gingerbread men with my daughter, we like to pour all the decorations into separate bowls and spread them out on the kitchen table. The frosting is our “glue” to affix all decorations. You can get creative when you make them and play holiday music and invite friends and family to participate."
And, while cookies are a "sometimes" treat, gingerbread is surprisingly low in fat. Plus, the cookies are filling, so just one with a glass of milk will do!
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 1/3 cups molasses (if using a liquid measuring cup, pour molasses all the way to top of the cup, past the “1 cup line”)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (a sprinkle)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (sometimes 4 1/2 cups will do – you don’t want the dough to be gooey)
- White or vanilla frosting, for decorating
- Raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries, for decorating
- Assorted red, green and white sprinkles, for decorating
Tips: You will need an electric mixer for this recipe since the dough is quite thick. A hand held beater is not equipped to do the job. Ask a grown-up helper (GH) for help making the dough the night before so it can refrigerate all night and during the day. When you return from school, it will be ready for baking and decorating.
Setting your electric mixer on high speed, cream the butter. Add the brown and white sugar. Gradually mix in the molasses and egg. Beat on low speed until completely blended. Add the baking soda and spices. Gradually add in the flour. The mixture will become thick.
Divide the dough into four equal-size balls and wrap each ball in waxed paper. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours OR refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets with baking spray or line them with baking paper. Ask your GH for help with the oven if you need it.
Roll out the gingerbread dough on waxed paper with a rolling pin. You may need to sprinkle flour over the dough to keep it from sticking. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut your cookies and place them on the cookie sheets. If the scraps of dough get sticky, sprinkle flour or roll into a ball and refrigerate for a few minutes.
Bake the gingerbread men for 6 minutes. Because the gingerbread is dark brown, it is difficult to tell if the cookies are done. They will expand as they bake and should be golden brown on the bottom when done. Do NOT bake them for more than 6 minutes or they will burn on the bottom. Once done, let the cookies sit for about 5-8 minutes before removing them with a spatula. Make sure the cookies are 100% cool before you begin to decorate them. This recipe makes 24-60 cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutter.