I have a tradition of making little gingerbread men and personalizing them for all of my favorite people around Christmas time. Making these cookies is somewhat time consuming but it is completely worth it since the universal reaction to a personalized gingerbread man is “SO CUTE!” whether the recipient is five or 50 years old. This is my favorite recipe but I tend to go rogue with the spices and add a lot more without measuring carefully. I think as long as your ratio of spices is approximately the same as below you won’t make any mistakes. The only spice I add that is not on this list is cloves and I like to add them at ¼ ratio to the amount of allspice I use.
Refrigerate the dough overnight wrapped in plastic. I like to make about three rectangle shaped bundles so that the dough is easier to handle when you roll it out. I use a marzipan sheet to prevent the dough from sticking so that I don’t need to use any more flour.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses (blackstrap is a stronger flavor and adds a darker color vs fancy molasses- I like to mix the two)
- 4 tablespoons water
- 5-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
- Optional cloves (1/2 tsp or so)
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg and water. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate four hours or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. cookie cutter (generally I don’t need any flour and use a marzipan sheet to roll on). Place 2 in. apart on parchment baking sheets (or grease a pan if you don’t have parchment). Reroll scraps but refrigerating them briefly will make them roll much
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired: Yield: about 2 dozen
I use royal icing to draw faces, write names and attach the buttons. The toque, hands and feet are done with white chocolate melted with a double boiler. Cookies can be baked in advance and frozen until you are ready to decorate but once you have decorated them they should remain at room temperatures. Have fun!
— Melanie McQuaid (@melradcoaching) December 15, 2015