I have a holiday confession: I’m obsessed with everything and anything gingerbread. Whether it’s an adorable gingerbread house, a plate full of gingerbread men cookies or festive decor featuring these favorite holiday icons, I love it all. They’re just so darn cute, and I can’t get over it. Given my love for gingerbread, it’s only natural that I share my soft gingerbread men cookies recipe.
While I don’t mind a crisp gingerbread man cookie, when given the choice, I always prefer a soft cookie with a nice chew. Ultimately, I find getting that perfect texture comes down to baking time and dough thickness. So let’s walk through the process, shall we?
How to Make Soft Gingerbread Men Cookies
We start by mixing the dry ingredients, which includes the spices. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are common in gingerbread men cookies, but I also like to include a touch of cardamom. That unique cardamom flavor gets me every time, and it adds a subtle twist from your typical gingerbread man cookie.
Now we cream our butter and sugar like we would with any cookie recipe and add an egg, molasses and vanilla extract. From here, we gradually add the dry ingredients and chill the dough for several hours. I realize that’s a little annoying, but it makes the dough easier to roll.
When we’re ready to roll the dough, I recommend rolling it to a 1/4 inch rather than 1/8 inch. That may sound like a minor difference, but we’ll get much softer gingerbread men cookies if we use thicker dough. Now we cut out our gingerbread men and pop them into the oven for eight minutes.
For decorating, I like to use a royal icing flavored with vanilla and orange extracts. To make the icing, we whip a couple egg whites with the extracts and then beat in a heap of powdered sugar until it’s smooth and pourable. If you’d like, you can add food coloring or leave the icing white —- your choice.
Perfect Pairing for Soft Gingerbread Men Cookies
If you’ve ever had Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Gingerbread Stout, you already know how well an imperial milk stout pairs with gingerbread. And no worries if you haven’t. I’m here to tell you the combination is delicious, and an imperial milk stout is perfect with these gingerbread men cookies.
Milk stouts include lactose, which gives the beer a creamy body that works well with cookies. I like to think of the combination as a grown-up version of cookies and milk.
That said, I also love dunking these gingerbread men cookies in ice-cold milk. I know —- that’s not really what you think of when it comes to pairings, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s ridiculously good. I don’t care how old I get. Dunking cookies in milk will always be delicious.
For wine, I love an Oloroso sherry with these gingerbread men cookies. Oloroso sherry is a sweet dessert wine with caramel and vanilla notes that work well with the molasses, and I love how the spices contrast with the sweetness of the sherry.
During this holiday season, I hope you try these gingerbread men cookies. Not only are they delicious, but you’ll have a blast decorating them. Please let me know how you enjoyed this gingerbread men cookies recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Need a Little Holiday Cheer? Try These Burrata and Bubbles Recipes.
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These soft gingerbread men cookies are the ultimate holiday baking project. Full of rich molasses and warm spices, these cookies are a holiday favorite.
For the Gingerbread Men Cookies
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the Orange-Vanilla Royal Icing
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Food coloring, optional
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cloves, allspice and cardamom until well mixed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and dark brown sugar on medium speed for three minutes. Add molasses, an egg and vanilla extract and beat for another two minutes. Divide the dough into two balls, flatten to a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least three or four hours.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. After chilling, lightly flour a pastry board or countertop and roll the discs of dough until they’re 1/4-inch thick. If you roll the dough thinner, the cookies will be more on the crispy side. The dough will initially be hard after chilling, but keep going and it will start to roll. Periodically lift the disc to keep the dough from sticking to the surface.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into cookies. Reroll the scraps and continue to cut into cookies. As the dough sits, it will get warmer, making it stickier. If it becomes too sticky, pop it into the freezer for just a couple minutes, and it will quickly chill to become more workable.
- Place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for eight minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then move to wire racks to cool completely.
- For the icing, beat the egg whites with the orange and vanilla extracts in a mixing bowl until it’s foamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until the mixture comes together. Turn up the speed and beat for several minutes until stiff peaks form. If desired, stir in food coloring. Pour the icing into squeeze bottles and decorate. Allow to dry. Enjoy!
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: gingerbread, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men cookies