This bakery recipe produces beautifully-shaped gingerbread men! Our royal icing recipe firms up nicely, allowing the cookies to be stacked. These gingerbread man cookies are a childhood favorite!
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fully combined. Add eggs, molasses and vanilla. Beat until combined. Add cornstarch, salt and spices. Blend well. Add flour. Mix until fully incorporated.
- Divide dough in half. Shape into two disks. Wrap each disk in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill dough in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove dough from freezer. Place one disk in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Working with the first disk, roll out dough to a thickness of just under 1/4 inch. Cut out cookies with a 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place cookies on lined baking sheets. If at any time the dough becomes too soft to handle, wrap it in plastic and stick it back in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove second disk from refrigerator. Repeat rolling and cookie cutting process.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when edges are dry to the touch and centers are a bit softer. Allow gingerbread men to cool on the baking tray for 6-8 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate gingerbread cookies with royal icing.
While the cookies are baking and cooling, prep the royal icing! This recipe makes enough icing to decorate a double batch of cookies.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and vanilla until frothy.
- Add powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until mixture is shiny. Beat on high speed for 6-7 minutes, or until icing is stiff and glossy.
- Transfer royal icing to a pastry bag fitted with a small round decorating tip. I use a Wilton #3 for decorating gingerbread man cookies.
EXPERT TIPS FOR GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES
- THE SECRET FOR COOKIES THAT KEEP THEIR SHAPE: The secret for gingerbread men that keep their shape is keeping the dough chilled. It’s important to chill the dough for 20-30 minutes in the freezer before rolling it out. If while prepping the cookies for baking, the dough becomes soft and overly pliable, return the dough to the freezer for 10 minutes. When time allows, place the tray of Gingerbread man cut-outs into the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
- KEEP THE COOKIE CUTTER EDGES CLEAN: For perfectly sharp cookie cut-outs, keep the cookie cutter clean. After cutting out each cookie, briefly dip the edges of the cookie cutter into flour, shaking off excess. Another method is lightly spraying the cookie cutter with cooking spray.
- LET COOKIES COOL COMPLETELY after baking. Before applying royal icing, make sure the gingerbread men are completely cool. After the icing has been applied, allow the icing to harden before stacking the cookies.
- COOKIE DECORATING INSPIRATION: In addition to the royal icing, use small pieces of peppermint stick, button candies, or M&Ms for the buttons. Use mini chocolate chips for the eyes. You can add red coloring to some of the royal icing to give the gingerbread men red mouths. Sprinkle edible glitter or finely-shredded coconut around the edge of the cookies, right on top of the icing.
- CAN GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH BE FROZEN? Yes! You can make the cookie dough in advance and freeze it in a tightly-sealed container for up to one month.
- CAN BAKED GINGERBREAD MEN BE FROZEN? Yes! Place baked and decorated Gingerbread Men in an airtight container with a little space between the cookies so they’re not touching. When stacking the cookies, use waxed paper to separate the layers. The cookies can then be frozen for 1-2 weeks.
- Prep Time: 50 Minutes
- Cook Time: 10 Minutes
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: German
Keywords: Gingerbread Man, Gingerbread Men, Christmas Cookies