Gingerbread Boys

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gingerbread boys doughBaking 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)…

gingerbread boys2

…then another shot in 2007:

gingerbread boys3

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…

gingerbread boys judah rolling

…then went to work decorating the cookies.

DSC_4783Below 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!

Gingerbread Boys

Prep Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: forty-five 3-inch cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

  • 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.

Source: A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies, by Dede Wilson


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  1. Those cookies look great! And your son is adorable! Also, visit me over at The Savvy Kitchen ( to enter my giveaway!

  2. I LOVE that picture of Judah! What a cute little face 🙂

  3. What a sweet tradition and a great way to spend time with the family.

  4. Yippety do da! And yay for Judah!

  5. love love LOVE the pictures … you guys look so happy and having such a wonderful time (even if it was a few years ago 🙂 Creating some serious memories!!

    i’d also like to point out – that in the second to last picture with Judah rolling the dough … i LOVE the stacks of containers filled with cookies 🙂

    • Thanks, Deb! My mother-in-law made those other cookies in the containers for us while we were out of town and she was home watching Judah for us. 🙂

  6. Your recipe came just in time … I have two batches of dough chilling in the freezer as I have to make 90 cookies for tomorrow’s preschool Winter Celebration! OOF. Preschool is so the boss of me right now!

  7. These look really yummy! I love the pictures of Judah, especially the one where he’s looking so surprised/enthralled with holding a gingerbread man in his hand. Too cute!

  8. These are so precious, as in the photos, I could cry!!!

  9. Hey! Would this recipe work well in gingerbread house form? Or is it too soft? Thanks!

    • Hi Kirsty,
      I was actually going to test that this weekend! It really depends on how thin/thick and the size of the shapes, I think. If I get to it this weekend, I’ll post an update here. I know that doesn’t help you now, though. Sorry!!

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