These gingerbread man cookies are loaded with fall/winter spices and can be either soft or crispy depending on your preference. Plus they are fun to decorate!
There is just something about the holidays when it comes to desserts. Many of us use it as an excuse to eat some of our favorite desserts we’d never have otherwise like my peppermint bark yule log. I’ll admit it though, Lauren and I have never been huge fans of one of the holidays most popular sweets – gingerbread cookies. I love the look of gingerbread men and making gingerbread houses, but just never loved the taste. That is until my mom started making gingerbread men for a charity called Give Kids The World.
I’m not sure how many she’s made the past few years this time of year but it’s in the thousands! So like usual I adapted the recipe to my own version by just adding a little more cinnamon and orange zest if desired. The orange zest isn’t necessary but a nice complement to the ginger. If you’ve never made homemade gingerbread cookies, it’s surprisingly easy. You just throw all the ingredients in a stand mixer and then let the dough rest for a couple of hours before rolling out. What makes this recipe great is its versatility. If you’re wanting to make gingerbread man cookies that are softer, just cook for a shorter about of time but if you’re wanting something crispy for a house so it can support everything, you just cook longer.
The real fun of gingerbread man cookies though is the decorating. The icing for gingerbread cookies is simple to make but great for either decorating gingerbread men or gluing together houses. So if you’re ready to make some delicious holiday cookies that even gingerbread haters like me enjoy, then give these a try. Trust me when I say these are the best gingerbread cookies out there.
What Ingredients are in this Gingerbread Man Cookie Recipe?
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Orange zest
- Powdered sugar
- Meringue powder
How to Make Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a medium bowl.
- Cream together the butter, sugar and egg until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat until just combined.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time while beating wet mixture on low speed and mix until just combined.
- Divide dough in half and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours but no longer than 8 hours.
- Sprinkle flour on dough and roll out to 1/4″ thick. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet 2″ apart and bake for 7-10 minutes at 375°F. The shorter the time you cook, the softer the cookers and the longer, the crispier the cookies.
- Once cool, decorate with icing.
Icing for Gingerbread Cookies
The best icing for homemade gingerbread cookies is royal icing as it is easy to make, easy to work with, sets quickly but then won’t break your teeth when it dries.
What if I Want to Make a Gingerbread House?
This recipe will work great for a gingerbread house. You just need to bake 2-3 minutes longer to get the cookie crispier so it can hold up.
Other Cookie Recipes:
Gingerbread Man Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp meringue powder
- 3-4 tbsp room temperature water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
- In large mixing bowl, with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and egg on medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture 1 cup at a time and mix until just combined.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours but no longer than 8 hours.
- Once dough is ready, preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour on dough and surface and roll out to 1/4" thick. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes.
- Place on baking sheet about 2" apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes. The shorter time gives you softer cookies, while the longer time gives you crispy cookies. I bake mine at 8 1/2 minutes for the consistency I like.
- Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on sheet for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Always start with 3 tbsp of water to be safe, but you'll probably need 4 for right consistency. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar and if too thick, add more water.