Dry Ingredients for the No-Fail Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe
- 3 cups of unbleached white flour
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg *If your family does not like nutmeg, you can skip it.
- 1/4 teaspoon of table salt *Use regular salt, not large salt crystals including Kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
*Important: do not substitute baking powder for baking soda. If you do not have baking soda, run out and buy some, it costs under a $1 a box. While you’re out, remember to pick up these Must-Have Baking Ingredients for Holiday Cookie Recipes.
Measure the dry ingredients and mix them thoroughly in a large bowl. You can use a sifter if you have one, or shake the bowl around to bring large pieces of the mix to the top so you can crush them and blend the dry ingredients better.
Tip: When measuring dry ingredients for baking, use the flat edge of a butter knife to level off the ingredients to achieve a more exact measurement.
Moist Ingredients for the No-Fail Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe
- 1/2 cup of molasses *Molasses is a good baking item to have on hand, as it goes well in homemade wheat bread recipes as well as Molasses cookies.
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter or 3/4 cup of shortening *You can use real butter, the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for Baking, or a vegetable shortening like Crisco.
- 3/4 brown sugar
Cream together the brown sugar and the shortening or butter. You can use a large spoon and a bowl, you don’t need a hand mixer. Add the egg and the molasses and blend.
Mix the moist ingredients into the dry ingredients until the dough is a consistent color and texture. Flour your hands and divide the dough into two balls, rolling in your hands like a big meatball.
Wrap the balls in flour-coated wax paper. Refrigerate both or one overnight. Tip: If you are making these ahead of time, or only need a small batch, freeze the second ball and you’ll have stored cookie dough to use when you need a last-minute cookie dough.
Preparations for the No-Fail Gingerbread Men Cookies
Cover a clean work surface with wax paper. When kids will be making the cookies, clear an entire table, clean it, and cover the entire table in wax paper or with a disposable tablecloth. Use tape to secure the edges of the wax paper.
Heap a generous spoonful of flour onto the wax paper. Roll the dough ball out with a rolling pin. Use cookie cutters to cut out the gingerbread men shapes or other holiday shapes. Peel away the excess dough and form another ball. Lift the cookies off the wax paper and place them on a cookie sheet.
Tip: Drop the cookie cutter in flour first to help the dough pop out of the cutter later.
Add raisins or Craisins for buttons or eyes, pressing them gently into the dough, if you would like a little fruit in your gingerbread men. Bake for nine minutes at 350 degrees, on a center rack. Do not overbake. Let them cool completely.
Decorating the No-Fail Gingerbread Men Cookies
Use tubes of white gel frosting to make outlines and faces on the cookies. Or mix half a box of Confectioner’s sugar, with one teaspoon of pure vanilla and water to make your own icing. Add enough water until the mixture is smooth and brush it onto the cookies.
Add colored sprinkles to add overall color to the gingerbread cookies. The icing will harden slightly making the cookies easier to handle. Embellish the gingerbread men further by dotting on frosting and using it as a glue to hold colored candies for buttons or eyes. At the very least each gingerbread man cookie should have eyes, a mouth, a bow tie and some squiggly lines on the arms.
Creative Decorating Ideas
– Dress the gingerbread men cookies with clothing cut from fruit leather (make fruit leather by dehydrating fruit in the best food dehydrator).
– Add hair to the gingerbread men cookies using black or red shoestring licorice, or crumbled shredded wheat.
– Don’t limit yourself to the gingerbread man shape. Use other cookie cutters including train shapes to cut cookies out of the gingerbread dough.
Storing the No-Fail Gingerbread Men Cookies
Keep the gingerbread men cookies separate from other cookie, in their own air-tight container. These holiday-scented cookies will lend their aroma to other cookies, which may affect their flavor.
Serve the cookies warm on the best warming tray!
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