Making this Easy Gingerbread Cookies Recipe using gingerbread man cookie cutters is a perfect holiday tradition to make with the kids. These homemade soft gingerbread cookies are always so much fun to decorate your way to look like gingerbread men cookies!
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Soft Gingerbread Man Cookies Recipe
Unlock your kids creativity by decorating them as charming gingerbread man cookies with colourful icing, candies and sprinkles. There are not many cookies that say the holidays quite like gingerbread Christmas cookies, except my favorite cut out sugar cookies or sugar cookies.
I love how these baked gingerbread cookies are perfectly soft with a chewy texture on the inside and a nice crisp edge on the outside. Some enjoy the spiced gingerbread cookie flavor while others love them for their nostalgic and festive holiday memories they provide.
Gingerbread cookies vs gingersnaps
Gingerbread cookies tend to be sweeter with a more complex spiced flavor that are often cutout into shapes and decorated. While gingersnap cookies are known for their bold and intense ginger flavor and ‘snappy’ taste and texture that are often round not decorated.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy holiday gingerbread man cookie recipe
- Perfectly spiced classic gingerbread recipe
- Great for cookie exchanges or gift giving
- So easy and fun to customize by decorating
Gingerbread Cookies Ingredients
- Butter – 12 tablespoons unsalted softened to room temperature which contributes to the tenderness and moisture of gingerbread cookies adding a rich savoy flavor that compliments the warm spices
- Molasses – 1/2 cup for these molasses gingerbread cookies that adds moisture with a rich sweetness and helps to create a soft and chewy texture
- Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup softened helps to tenderize the cookie and adds a rich and complex flavour due to its molasses content that also adds a subtle caramel taste that pairs so well with warm spices in this gingerbread cookie
- Egg – 1 egg acts as a binder for the ingredients also adds moisture and helps to create a smooth consistent cookie dough texture
- Vanilla – 1 teaspoon adds a warm and sweet flavor to gingerbread cookies
- All Purpose Flour – 3 cups provides structure to your cookies
- Ginger – 2 teaspoon ground ginger helps to provide a warm and slightly spicy taste
- Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon is a key ingredient in gingerbread cookies adding a depth of flavour that is sweet and spicy
- Nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon adds a warm nutty flavor to enhance the depth of flavor in your cookies
- Baking Soda – 1 teaspoons is another key ingredient that acts as a levelling agent helping the cookies to rise and its overall texture
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon helps to balance the flavor and enhance the taste of other ingredients
Royal Icing for Gingerbread Cookie Ingredients
- Powdered Sugar – 4 cups divided for the gingerbread cookie frosting which adds sweetness and helps with the texture thickness
- Vanilla – 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla to help make it bright white adds a rich sweet flavor that compliments the sugar
- Meringue Powder – 2 tablespoons is a easy substitute for egg whites in icing as when the proteins are whipped it helps to provide stability
- Corn Syrup – 2 tablespoons adds a smooth glossy texture to the icing
- Water – 1/2 to 3/4 cup divided is added to help control the consistency of icing
Gingerbread cookie decorating supplies
- Icing or Royal Icing
- Food Coloring – optional to make different colored icing
- Piping bags
- Sprinkles, sanding sugar or nonpareils of your choice
- Your favorite colourful candy like gumdrops or M&M’s
Gingerbread man decorating ideas
Classic gingerbread man like we have decorated, ugly sweater gingerbread man, Santa Claus gingerbread men, reindeer gingerbread men, snowman gingerbread men or superhero gingerbread men.
Gingerbread cookies without molasses can be made by using dark corn syrup or dark maple syrup as a substitute for molasses. We prefer to use the molasses for that classic gingerbread flavor.
If you like a more heavily spiced gingerbread cookie my classic cutout gingerbread cookies provide that.
You can use powdered sugar as a substitute for the granulated sugar in the icing.
Step by step instructions for how to make gingerbread cookies recipe
STEP ONE – Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
STEP TWO – In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, combine the sugar and brown sugar. Cream until smooth.
STEP THREE – Add in the molasses, vanilla extract and egg and mix thoroughly.
STEP FOUR – In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda,nutmeg and salt.
STEP FIVE – Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
STEP SIX – Chill the bowl in the freezer while making the icing.
Make the Icing
STEP SEVEN: In bowl from stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine 2 cups of powdered sugar,meringue powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add in 3 teaspoons worth of water as the mixer is going.
Mix until combined, then increase the speed to medium for another 2-3 minutes. The icing will be very stiff. Transfer to another bowl and cover with a damp paper towel and set aside.
STEP EIGHT – Using the same mixing bowl from the stand mixer, using the whisk attachment combine the other 2 cups of powdered sugar, corn syrup, 2 tablespoons of water and the other teaspoon of vanilla. Mix on low speed until combined.
STEP NINE – Combine the two icing mixtures into one bowl and whisk until smooth. Add in additional water if needed to thin the mixture.
TEST THE ICING:
Using a spatula, scoop a bit of icing up and allow it to drop back into the bowl. The icing should re-incorporate back into itself and settle within about a 12-15 second count. If the icing is too thick, add another dash of water. Continue to test until desired consistency is achieved.
Transfer the icing to a piping bag and set aside.
NOTE: Thin icing spreads nicely but can run over the edges of the cookie. Thick icing will not move – it is good for lettering and flowers.
STEP TEN – Remove the dough from the freezer. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 to 5/8-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface.
Cut out desired shapes and carefully transfer to your parchment lined baking sheets -there should be minimal spread, so about an inch apart is sufficient.
NOTE: Save the dough scraps and reroll until the dough is too small to cut any more cookies.
Bake cookies for 8 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.
STEP ELEVEN – When ready to decorate, cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag.
Pipe the eyes, a “U” shaped mouth, stitches on both arms and both legs. Use three small dots to create the bond for the buttons and then place the round sprinkles.
Icing will set at room temp after about an hour. Then they can be stacked.
You can also make gingerbread man sugar cookies and chocolate gingerbread cookies using cocoa powder.
Making different gingerbread cookie shapes using cookie cutters to make a gingerbread snowflake or tree cookies.
Top tips for making the best gingerbread cookie recipe
- Use clear vanilla in the icing recipe to make it bright white and true colors
- Toothpicks are great to help spread the icing
- The quantity of cookies will depend on the thickness and the size of the cookies
- These cookies are very versatile, use whatever sprinkles and decorating supplies that you or the kids like
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper the help prevent over browning
- Save the dough scraps and reroll until the dough is too small to cut any more cookies
- Over baking will lead to crisper cookies and that are not soft and chewy
- Allow cookies to cool before icing
- The icing will set at room temp after about an hour, then they can be stacked
Can you make ahead gingerbread cookies?
Yes you can, make Christmas gingerbread treats 1 to 2 days before serving for the best results.
How to store gingerbread cookies?
Cookies are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze gingerbread men cookies?
Yes you can! Freeze using a freezer-safe container for 2 to 3 months.
Thaw at room temperature before serving.