Baking and decorating gingerbread boys (aka gingerbread cookies) around Christmas time is a Gladd family tradition. We do not worry about creating the most elaborate looking cookie, and instead usually focus on how much icing we can fit onto one cookie. To us, it’s all about having fun together.
Here we are as a family in 2006 (well, a few of us at least)…
…then another shot in 2007:
This year, because the family isn’t getting together for the holidays, we decorated cookies with Ben’s mom when she was in town for Thanksgiving, and then again later with some friends. It was Judah’s first experience with gingerbread boys, as last year he was too young to really understand or remember. He was quite shocked at the dough boys as he removed them from the cookie cutters:
He did an outstanding job rolling the dough…
…then went to work decorating the cookies.
Below is my favorite recipe so far for gingerbread boys. As far as frosting, either use store-bought, your favorite recipe, or a simple combination of softened butter, powdered sugar and a little bit of milk and vanilla extract. Divide and add food coloring as desired. I can’t wait to collect more memories through out the years of our family baking and decorating cookies together!
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 batch of your preferred icing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually mix in the brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spices, then beat in the molasses and egg, mixing well after each addition.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Transfer the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a large flat disc and refrigerate until firm; at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner.
On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough out to no less than 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread boys or other shape of your choice. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets, making sure to place similar sized cookies on the same sheet to ensure even baking.
Bake until just light golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Do not over bake. Cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired once completely cooled.