Gingerbread Men

This has been a Christmas-ful weekend! Yesterday, I went with my Tahoe family to cut down Christmas trees! We only had to drive about 10 minutes but it was such a cool experience. We frolicked around fields and hills to find two perfect trees. Okay, so it wasn’t that glamorous, I was actually pretty exhausted when it was over because of trekking through snow and helping drag a 16 foot pine tree through the snow for a hefty distance. But it was a gorgeous day and we were successful!

After we returned and put up the tree, I pulled the gingerbread cookie dough I had put in the refrigerator before our tree hunt and rolled it out to make gingerbread men. What a festive day! Today I woke to munch on gingerbread men with my coffee and turned on some Christmas music and helped decorate the house! I love this time of year. 

gingerbread men

Gingerbread men always accompanied Christmas in my eyes until I started working at Carmel Bakery, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, in high school. They sell their (amazing and chewy) gingerbread boys all year long! It made me question why we all had to wait until December rolls around to eat gingerbread men. Even though this is a December blog post, I vow to make gingerbread men at least once while we are not in the season. Okay, enough of that rant since this is, in fact, a holiday post. 

I am on a quest to find a chewy yet firm, spicy yet balanced, soft yet durable gingerbread recipe. I do not want to have to pour a glass of milk in order to get through a gingerbread man; no milk should be necessary. I began with the King Arthur Flour recipe, never a disappointment with their well-tested recipes.

gingerbread men

I used white chocolate as décor. The white chocolate “pants” are something they did at Carmel Bakery and I think it is genius. It mellows the spice but also adds great flavor and texture. Sprinkles never fail to liven up a Christmas-y cookie and candied ginger is a delicious and sophisticated accompaniment. I experimented with different sizes of gingerbread men but found the bigger to be the better since they stay softer, although the teeny ones (pictured above) are adorably small. 

These cookies are crispy and crunchy when rolled thin but soft and chewy when left thick. I experimented with different widths but enjoy the thicker, softer cookie more. The balance of spices and molasses is delectable but when I make them again I think I will add a little more cloves. My brother suggested mixing in chopped candied ginger into the dough to add even more ginger goodness, I will try this next time. 

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Gingerbread Men
Classic gingerbread men!
  • 3/4 C butter
  • 3/4 C light brown sugar
  • 3/4 C molasses
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 3 1/2 C all purpose flour
1. In a medium size pot, melt the butter. Once melted, take off heat and whisk in brown sugar, molasses, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and cloves. Move mixture to a large mixing bowl and bring to room temperature. 2. In a medium bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, and flour. 3. Once molasses mixture is cooled, whisk in egg.  4. Slowly add flour mixture to molasses mixture mixing with a wooden spoon. The last portion will be tough to mix in so be prepared for an arm workout. 5. Half the dough and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or more.  6. Once dough has rested in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preheat the oven to 350 F. Take one portion out of the fridge and roll it onto a lightly floured workspace. 7. Roll to desired thickness and cut out as desired.  8. Bake for 6-10 minutes* 9. Let cool on cookie rack, decorate as desired.  *Really watch these, I overcooked a thin batch with 8 minutes and the thicker seemed to be done in 6-7 but I really like mine soft. Tap their tummies to feel that they are cooked but still soft. Keep in mind I am baking at high altitude (6300 feet). I recommend making them in small batches (6 cookies) as to learn the cooking time necessary 
Yield: approximately 30 cookies
gingerbread men

If you have an amazing gingerbread recipe that is all those things I described, please share! You can contact me through the About Me page!

Listening to: Christmas music