My Favorite Gingerbread Men Cookies

December 11, 2020

Welcome to your new favorite gingerbread man recipe! I am pleased to report that I have nailed the perfect gluten-free gingerbread man cookie that is nice and chewy, easy to decorate, and packed with all the traditional gingerbread spices. 

If you make one gingerbread man recipe this year, let it be this one. I can’t tell you how much fun I had with the boys when I was testing this recipe. The first test round was a complete flop – instead of using the cookie cutters I bought, the boys thought it was funny to fling gingerbread dough across the table at one another. Said activity quickly came to a halt. 

The next time I made them, the boys vowed to not fling dough. We made perfect gingerbread man cookies, and as I was getting ready to decorate and shoot some photos, I went over to the tray, only to find all the gingerbread men beheaded. 

So I had to make them yet another time, and this time I did it when the boys were in school. No dough flinging, no beheading. Just me and my cute little gingerbread men. 

You need them in your life.

What you need to make perfect gingerbread cookies

Before I get into the ingredients, be sure you have cute little gingerbread cookie cutters. I have this cute little set that has all kinds of different shapes, and it’s inexpensive. I also recommend that you have a rolling pin and plastic wrap to make the dough easy to roll out. Be sure you have an uncluttered working area; it just makes the process nice and zen!

Back to the ingredients, here is what you need!

  • Cane sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar: You can use any one of these sugar options in this recipe.
  • Butter: I think that using good ole-fashioned butter in this recipe will yield the best result. I have not tested coconut oil, and I do not think a plant-based butter will work. But you never know! 🙂 
  • Molasses: Molasses is a key ingredient in this recipe. I recommend using blackstrap molasses, both because of its taste and thickness. 
  • Vanilla extract: Because every baking recipe needs a little kick of vanilla extract.
  • Egg: Let your egg get room temperature. I don’t recommend using a flax egg in place of the egg.
  • Gluten-free flour: I know some of you are going to ask whether you can use regular flour, oat flour, almond flour, and the whole gamut of flour varieties. Answer? I haven’t tested other flours, because getting the perfect gingerbread man recipe was hard enough 🙂 And when possible, I love baking with gluten-free flour, because it’s easier for me to digest. Here is the gluten-free flour that I use in all of my baking recipes.
  • Cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg: Do not skimp on any of these amazing spices! I do think one of the reasons why this recipe is so good, is because of the amount of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Go big or go home!
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is a necessary ingredient, but we don’t use too much. Just a touch, so that they rise just the right amount.

Pro tips for professional looking gingerbread men!

There are a few suggestions I have for making the perfect gingerbread men – follow them!

  1. Follow the instructions and don’t make substitutions. Of course I understand if you need to, but please note that I can’t guarantee that your gingerbread will turn out with the same texture and consistency as mine.
  2. Chill the damn dough. Make the dough and chill it for at least 3 hours. I know that sounds like a pain in the ass, but it’s really not. Make the dough in the morning and then just go about your day and do other things. Or do as I do, and make the dough before bed, cover the bowl, and then refrigerate it over night. It’s worth it.
  3. Roll the damn dough. After the dough has chilled, the easiest way to work with it, is to do this: lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your working surface. Transfer the chilled dough from the bowl directly onto the plastic wrap. Fold up the plastic wrap so the dough becomes a large ball. Then, gently unwrap the plastic, and add a new piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the used one. That way the dough is essentially sandwiched between two pieces of plastic wrap, and will be so easy to roll out!! Then, using a rolling pin to gently roll it out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. If you don’t like the plastic wrap method, that’s fine! Just make sure your working space is well-floured so the dough is easy to work with. As you are working, do not be scared to add more flour to the work surface. Any extra flour spots on top of your shaped cookie dough will bake off.
  4. Work efficiently! After you’ve rolled out the dough, use your cookie cutters and make your cookie shapes. Gently line them up on the baking sheet and bake! The dough is easiest to work with when it’s cold.
  5. Wait until your cookies have completely cooled to start decorating. Just listen to me, ok?

How to decorate your gingerbread men

After they’ve baked and cooled, it’s time to decorate the cookies. I am talking about smiles, eyes, whatever your gingerbread cookie loving heart desires. I shared the quick and easy icing recipe that I use to decorate them, but you can always use melted white chocoalte instead. Additionally, this would be the best time to whip out all those holiday sprinkles and such! If you want colored icing, all you have to do is tint the icing with a couple drops of food coloring. The world is your oyster, just have fun with it.

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a rating and comment below! Oh, and since I practically live on Instagram, tag me in your creations so that I can see them and repost! Happy holidays, everyone, and thank you for being a part of the KALEJUNKIE community!

KALEJUNKIE-GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIES

My Favorite Gingerbread Men

Author: Nicole Modic of @KALEJUNKIE

Prep Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
SERVES 14 cookies
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This is my favorite gingerbread cookies recipe! We are talking gingerbread men that are soft in the center, crisp on all the edges, and perfectly spiced! Make sure you chill the cookie dough discs for a minimum of 3 hours.

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or regular cane sugar)
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s 1:1 gluten free baking flour)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • In a stand mixer, cream together the coconut sugar (or sugar), butter, molasses, and vanilla extract.
  • After about 30 seconds or so, add the egg.
  • Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  • Then, slowly transfer the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients.
  • Mix until everything is well combined.
  • Cover dough and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours until it’s firm enough to work with.
  • Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Option 1: Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on your working surface. Transfer the chilled dough directly from the bowl onto the plastic wrap. Fold up the plastic wrap so the dough becomes a ball. Then gently unwrap the plastic, and add a new piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the used one. That way the dough is essentially sandwiched between two pieces of plastic wrap, and will be super easy to roll out!! Then, using a rolling pin to gently roll it out until it's about 1/4-inch thick.
  • Option 2: If you don't like the plastic wrap method, that's fine! Generously add flour to your working surface. Transfer the dough from the bowl to the working surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough, so that it doesn't stick when you roll it out. Gently roll out the dough untio it's about 1/4-inch thick. As you are working, do not be scared to add more flour to the work surface. Any extra flour spots on top of your shaped cookie dough will bake off.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and gently place the cookies onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  • Let them cool completely before icing them - this is a must.
  • To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar and water until there are no clumps.
  • Transfer the icing into a small Ziploc bag, squeeze out any excess air and seal the bag.
  • Cut off a tiny piece of one of the lower corners and squeeze icing through the hole to decorate the cookies as desired.
  • Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made - tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. 4 stars
    My kids loved these and I feel good about letting them have more than one! We made them twice in one week 🙂 The dough was super sticky even after chilling overnight, so it was tough to get the shapes cut out and had to use a lot of extra flour. But great gingerbread flavor and such a fun thing to do!

    • YAY! That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you for letting me know!! Hope you had a great holidays!