How to Make Perfectly Cute Gingerbread People for the holidays. These gingerbread cookies are sweet and so fun to make!
My family has a tradition of making gingerbread people every year. We decorate an entire tree with only gingerbread people.
It is so much fun and we love doing it each year. As the kids get older I’m sure they find it silly but we still do it..
We also do a gingerbread village each year. Each person decorates their own house. It’s so much fun.
I use Martha Stewart’s recipe for Gingerbread Snowflakes for my Gingerbread People. The recipe is fabulous and your gingerbread won’t fall apart. I highly suggest using that recipe.
You can use her Royal Icing recipe too. Here’s the thing about Royal Icing, most call for meringue powder to make the icing stiff enough to pipe, but it tastes freaking horrible if you’re eating the cookies.
If we hang ours on the tree and don’t plan to eat them I’ll use Royal Icing. But if we plan to actually eat the cookies I use a basic frosting recipe and just make sure it’s thick enough to pipe.
I hate the taste of meringue powder so what we use to decorate depends on whether the cookies are decorative or for munching.
Gingerbread People Tips:
- Make the gingerbread dough the day before you want to bake it. It rolls out better if it sets up overnight.
- When you take it out let it warm up a bit. Otherwise it tends to crack. I leave mine on the counter while I preheat the oven and get trimmings ready.
- Don’t use a lot of flour for your work surface. Bench flour can make the gingerbread tough. Use sparingly.
- Don’t over-work your dough. It will make it tough.
- The scraps you use as the project moves on will not roll out quite as well as your initial roll. Use those for funky people. I did one guy with cracks then gave him a faux hawk. Adds a little edge to your people.
- Use good quality butter in the recipe. Makes all the difference.
- I suggest making this a 3 day project. I make the dough in the evening on day 1. Then on day 2 I make the cookies. Then on day 3 we decorate them. If you try to do it all in one day you’ll just get frustrated and it sucks the fun out of the process.
- Use a garlic press to make hair. Honestly it’s the cutest thing ever.
- You can make clothes by using a small knife or sewing tool. They just look adorable.
- Freeze the people for 30 to 60 minutes before baking. This will keep them from spreading.
- Make up piping bags ahead of time and stick different colours in them. Then pop the bags in tall glasses and stick in the fridge until you’re almost ready to decorate. Then take them out about 15/20 minutes before you need them.
- Have all your decorations out and at the ready before you sit down to decorate. It helps if you have a lazy susan so everyone can just spin it for what they want.
- Keep wet napkins nearby for hands.
- Above all else, get the hooligans involved and just have fun. Make a mess. You’ll be making memories and traditions at the same time.
More Gingerbread and Christmas Cookies:
- Ginger Horse Cookies
- Double Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
- Pink Coconut Cookies
- Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies
- Black Forest Sandwich Cookies
- Chocolate Fudge Brownie Sandwich Cookies
- Shortbread Christmas Mice
- Mini Gingerbread House Hot Chocolate Mug Perches
Places to stalk Cravings of a Lunatic
How to Make Perfectly Cute Gingerbread People
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp finely ground pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsulfured molasses
- royal icing
- fine sanding sugar for sprinkling
- Start by sifting the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar in the bowl. Use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy.
- Next, add the spices and mix and give the mixer a quick pulse.
- Then add the eggs and molasses and mix on low speed until combined.
- Next, add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and turn on low speed until combined.
- Then, divide the gingerbread dough into three equal parts. Next, wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour, or until cold.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Next roll out the chilled gingerbread dough onto a lightly floured surface. You want the dough to rolled out so it's about 1/4-inch thick.
- Use a gingerbread people cookie cutter to cut shapes. Place the gingerbread people on baking sheets so they are spaced about 2 inches apart then pop the pans in the refrigerator until the dough is firm. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Place baking sheets in the preheated oven for about 12 to 14 minutes. You want the dough to be browned and crisp but not overly dark.
- Remove the baking pans from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before moving people to a cooling rack.
- Decorate with icing and sprinkles once cooled.
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