Gingerbread Men Cookies

by sous-chef on December 20, 2011

With such a variety of holiday treats, how can someone conquer them all? Every year it seems that all I do is bake Christmas treats but there are so many more for me to try. How on earth can one choose??

Well, after digging through many of our cookbooks, I realized that this December I needed to tackle one classic cookie to prove myself, and that is the gingerbread cookie.

The original inspiration to make gingerbread came from my recent semester abroad in Europe. In chilly Nuremberg, Germany, I tried the local lebkuchen cookies and was hooked!

Here are a few photos from my trip to Germany.

These German cookies were loaded with spices and grainy in a way that I’d never tasted in gingerbread cookies before and, although I don’t normally like nuts in my cookies, those three almonds trapped beneath the thin layer of glaze added so much to the flavor. They gave me a new appreciation for the cookie and replaced my memories of hard, sticky gingerhouses glued together in a lumpy mess.

In my hunt for a recipe, I did see a few for lebkuchen but instead I thought I would go the classical route. Leaving my memories of Germany aside, I looked at many different recipes and tried to find one simple enough that I didn’t have to run to the grocery store for an obscure ingredient and yet still have it taste just right. Who else could I turn to but the queen of holiday cooking? Martha Stewart’s (cookbook) gave me the perfect recipe and I was off.

Let me tell you- this recipe was an absolute dream! Us bakers can have many failures and frustrations in the kitchen, but when everything comes together so perfectly it’s like a reassurance that I do know what I’m doing in the kitchen. As I pulled the dough out of the mixer, it smelled heavenly.

Working with cookie cutters and rolling dough in my last set of Buttered Rum Cookies, I was prepared for the difficulties and managed to cook all of my cookies to a crunchy perfection. I know for certain that this recipe will become a new family tradition for Christmas, considering how fast they were gobbled up! I know it’s a success when I have to hide half of the dough to make sure I have enough cookies left for pictures to share with all of you. Enjoy!

Here is the recipe that I adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook:

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¼ teaspoons ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup unsulfured molasses

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves, then set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Then beat in egg and molasses until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add in flour mixture until just incorporated. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out refrigerated dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut out with cookie cutters. Bake until cookies are crisp but not darkened, about 5-10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie December 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Beautiful cookies! I was just thinking that I need to make some gingerbread men when I’m home all day Friday. These sound perfect!

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Magic of Spice December 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Lovely photos of your trip 🙂 And these cookies are gorgeous, I love gingerbread!

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Always Wright December 21, 2011 at 3:06 am

Thanks so much for your great recipes and beautiful pics of your trip! We loved visiting Europe. My son-in-law was born in Germany and we picked delicious fresh strawberries not too far from where he was born. The food was delicious there!

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Sous Chef December 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I’m so glad you liked the pictures! I loved Germany so much, I had such a great time. And yes, the food is quite delicious. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story too!

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Bam's Kitchen December 21, 2011 at 8:09 am

Your little gingerbread are adorable and I love your pictures of Germany. Have a safe and happy Holiday! Take Care

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Alix December 22, 2011 at 3:34 am

these were great. my usual recipe is very sweet so this was a welcome change. the 1st batch was dry (egg from my chooks in backyard) but then for the 2nd I used a larger egg which did the trick. lovely pictures.

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Sous Chef December 22, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Thanks!! I’m glad you liked the recipe and that it turned out for you. I liked that this was a crisper, more classic gingerbread cookie without being too sweet- just spicy enough to taste right!

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Elies_Lie December 22, 2011 at 8:23 am

The gingerbread man looks lovely and yummy too 😀
glad u put the nut in the cookies, I guess that will make the cookies taste extra rich!
tq for sharing the recipe and tq for posting all ur holiday photos in germany! love them! Happy holiday! 😉

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Gene December 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Lovely colour you have there!!
I would like to know if Incan substitute the cloves for anything else like nutmeg or omit it?? Thanks!!!

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Sous Chef December 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Thanks! 🙂 I’m sure you can substitute the cloves, there is very little in the dough and I don’t think the taste will be too affected by a change to nutmeg. Let me know if it’s a success!

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Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes December 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Your gingerbread men, my gingerbread pigs: let’s take over the world!!

I love your little cookies and also enjoyed your pictures of Germany.

Happy holidays!!

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Peachee December 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm

These look yummy! how did you make the glaze/icing? Mine doesn’t seem to harden so I can’t stack the cookies to store them.

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Sous Chef December 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thank you! I’ll confess I didn’t actually make my own icing for these pictures, I used a bottle of the Wilton’s White Cookie Icing and it dried very nicely.

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Auntie December 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I love Gingerbread!! xxxooo

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Liz December 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

YUM! These are just fabulous! I made my gingersnaps, but no gingerbread men this year…and now I’m second guessing myself looking at your drool worthy photos!! Merry Christmas!

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Elies_Lie December 22, 2011 at 11:44 pm

again! cookies looks lovely… congratz on the top 9 today! 😉

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Sous Chef December 25, 2011 at 12:08 am

Thank you so much! 🙂

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Beth Michelle December 23, 2011 at 4:27 am

Your gingerbread cookies came out so beautiful!

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Emily @ Life on Food December 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I don’t like gingerbread cookies but every year we end up making them since it is tradition in the family and at Christmas time. I do enjoy the decorating part. Great photos!

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Tiffany December 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I hope you had a MERRY Christmas! HUGS!!!

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Kita January 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Im so far behind on my foodbuzz inbox – but I will catch up! These little gingerbread men sound delicious. I would have never enjoyed them as a child but now that I am more open to cookies other than chocolate chip (the only thing I wanted then) they sound delightful! And the picture of that church – wow!!!

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