This recipe makes my favourite gingerbread men – they hold their shape very well, and are soft and chewy rather than thin an crunchy. My friend and I made them with our two-year-olds last week.
Theo didn’t really get the process at first, and chose to dip most of his candy in icing and eat it rather than decorate his men. But he had a blast. And when he eventually caught on he made some very… er… let’s say artistic gingerbread designs.
The easiest way to roll the dough is between sheets of wax or parchment paper. If you find it is sliding around on the counter while rolling, place a piece of damp paper towel underneath it to prevent slipping.
Lightly flour both sheets of parchment paper before rolling, this helps with cutting out shapes and lifting them off.
Any rolled cookie dough is a bit finicky – sometimes it’s stiff and tears, and sometimes it’s too soft. All you need to do if it is soft (if you are having trouble lifting out your cut-outs) is slide the dough along with the parchment onto a rimless baking sheet or cutting board and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. If it gets too firm, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
Using cool cookie sheets keeps the butter from melting too quickly, which can cause spreading. Run pans under cold water between batches to hasten the process (it can cause a bit of warping, but my pans are fine and I do it all the time).
I used this Royal Icing recipe to decorate the cookies – it is super easy, dries hard and matte, doesn’t damage easily, and really glues on the candies.
What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?
Soft, Chewy Gingerbread Men
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 3 large eggs
- 27 ounces 6 cups all purpose flour*
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- Beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed in standing mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of mixer occasionally. Beat in molasses, and then eggs.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- Add flour mixture to mixer with speed on low; beat until combined. Divide dough into two equal piles on top of parchment or wax paper; flatten into disc shapes and wrap up in the paper. Refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 48 hours in advance.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Working with one disc at a time, roll dough between sheets of floured parchment or wax paper to about 1/4" thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, then lift them out with a metal spatula. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until just set and no longer shiny.
- Press the dough scraps into another disc and repeat the process until all the dough is used. Transfer the dough to the freezer (see note in post) for a few minutes as needed if it gets too soft to work with.
- Cool completely before decorating. Get the Royal Icing recipe I used here.
- *I measured my flour by weight which I strongly recommend here, as 6 cups leaves a lot of room for variability - flour packs, and a little bit more or less in each "cup" can make a big difference in the final result.