Gingerbread Man Cookies

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Easy gingerbread man cookies with step-by-step photos, including tips for making a gingerbread man garland. These gingerbread cookies are perfect to give as gifts or to decorate around your home!

gingerbread man cookies on wire rack with wooden board underneath

Gingerbread Man Cookies

For me, no Christmas is complete without at least one batch of gingerbread man cookies. I say “one batch” but what I really mean is “one baking session” with maybe a triple batch!

As a child growing up in Australia, the only Christmas cookie I knew of were gingerbread man cookies. And in my family’s Vietnamese bakery, we actually sold them all year round.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Golden syrup gives these gingerbread cookies a distinctive sweetness.
  • Ground spices are used for the perfect Christmas flavours.
  • The chilled dough is child-friendly, which makes it easy for children to stamp out shapes, ready for you to bake.

gingerbread man garland on wire rack

What is Lebkuchen?

Since moving to Switzerland where Christmas is entwined with much richer and long-standing historical traditions than in Australia, their Christmas cookie collection is so vast that you can buy complete cookbooks featuring just this seasonal and festive fare.

Lebkuchen is the more traditional gingerbread in Switzerland and the surrounding countries like Germany and Austria, but it is a more of a cake than a cookie, hence the name Kuchen, which means “cake” in German.

I find that traditional Lebkuchen is also much stronger in spice, a feature which makes it more palatable among the adults and less so with young children.

Gingerbread Cookies

Perhaps it is my upbringing but I much prefer gingerbread cookies to German Lebkuchen. I love the sweet, crunchy bites, and I love the fun shapes of gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread men feature prominently in our home at Christmas, but the children often raid the cookie cutter collection, so dinosaurs and princess crowns also somehow make it into our Christmas cookie assortment!

And for those of you who live in Switzerland, you can prepare your own Samichlaussäckli and replace the traditional Lebkuchen with some homemade gingerbread cookies instead.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

The following gingerbread cookie recipe is a reliable one which I turn to every year. The golden syrup is what gives these cookies their earthy sweetness, and you can increase or decrease the amount of ground spices to your liking.

For a soft gingerbread cookie, I suggest baking them until they are just lightly golden.

For a crunchy gingerbread cookie, you should bake them for a few extra minutes until the edges become slightly darker than the rest of the cookie. But you might need to experiment; the cookies harden as they cool, and sometimes the very crunchy cookies are best suited to decorating the Christmas tree 😉

For a more simple and buttery gingerbread cookie, I recommend the recipe for my Gingerbread Sablé.

gingerbread man cookies on wire rack with red Christmas ribbon

Gingerbread Man Garland

You can decorate the gingerbread men as they are, or you can very quickly and easily turn them into a gingerbread man garland to decorate your front door or to display around the home. I saw this idea in a Donna Hay magazine a few years ago and think they just look so beautiful around the home.

Other suggestions include cutting out snowflakes or other seasonal shapes and turning them into edible Christmas tree decorations!

How to Make Gingerbread Man Cookies

For this recipe, you will need to have either an electric stand mixer or a hand-held electric beater.

The first step is to cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is very pale and creamy. This will take about 10 minutes on medium speed.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | creamed butter and sugar in a metal bowl

Add the remaining ingredients and beat until a soft dough forms. At this stage, the dough will be very soft because of the softened butter.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | soft gingerbread dough in metal bowl

Roughly divide the dough into two portions.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | gingerbread dough on baking paper

Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 4mm thick. The dough will rise slightly upon baking.

Chill the sheets of dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will make it easier to cut out shapes from the dough later. I have kept these sheets of dough in the fridge for several days with no problems.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | rolled out gingerbread dough between two sheets of baking paper

Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut out shapes from the dough.

Due to the high butter content, this cookie dough can be quite soft, and which is why it is important to chill it thoroughly before cutting out shapes.

If the dough is a bit soft and the shapes cannot be removed from the cookie cutters easily, you might find it easier to stamp out all of the shapes and to then remove the excess dough using a small palette knife. You can then bake the cookies directly from the same baking sheet. If this is the case, leave a bit of room between each shape as the cookies will expand slightly during baking.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | gingerbread man cookie cutter on rolled out dough

If you wish to make a gingerbread man garland, use a small round piping nozzle to cut out holes for the ribbon.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | uncooked gingerbread man cookies on baking paper

Bake the gingerbread men until they are lightly golden. If you bake the cookies for too long, they might become too hard to eat once they have cooled. But this might not be a problem if you intend the cookies to be used as decoration!

Leave them to set on the hot baking tray for a few minutes, before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

how to make gingerbread man cookies | baked gingerbread man cookies on cookie sheet

Gingerbread Man Cookies

5 from 1 reviews

Easy gingerbread man cookies with step-by-step photos, including tips for making a gingerbread man garland. These gingerbread cookies are perfect to give as gifts or to decorate around your home!

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 40 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  2. Using the flat paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes on medium-high speed until the mixture is a very pale and creamy.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Beat until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  6. Divide the dough into two.
  7. Roll each ball of dough between two sheets of baking paper until about 4mm thick.
  8. Place the sheets of rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 1 hour to firm up.
  9. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (without fan).
  10. Cut out shapes from the dough. If the dough is still quite soft, I sometimes find it easier to stamp out all of the shapes, and to then carefully remove the excess pastry with a small palette knife, leaving the cut out shapes intact on the baking paper.
  11. Re-roll and chill the pastry as needed.
  12. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how large your cookies are. They should be ready when they are lightly golden, and they will continue to crisp as they cool. If you bake them for too long, they will become too hard to eat once they have cooled.
  13. Leave the cookies on the hot baking tray for about 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Kitchen Notes

GINGERBREAD MAN GARLAND
If you wish to make a Gingerbread Man Garland similar to the photos above, after you have cut out the gingerbread man shapes, use a round piping nozzle with a 5mm diameter to cut out holes for the ribbon.

CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION
To make gingerbread cookies to use as Christmas tree decoration, simply cut out any festive shape (e.g. angels, snowflakes, Christmas tree), and use a round piping nozzle with a 5mm diameter to cut out a hole at the top of the shape where you can later string some ribbon. You can bake the cookies for the recommended time, or just a few minutes extra for extra crisp/strong cookies.

HOW LONG DOES IT KEEP?
The rolled out, uncooked gingerbread dough keeps for about 3 days in the fridge. Once baked, the gingerbread cookies keep for 2 to 3 days in a covered container.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: Per cookie
  • Calories: 120
  • Sugar: 8.5g
  • Sodium: 64.5mg
  • Fat: 3.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.8g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 9.9mg

Did you make this recipe?

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4 comments on “Gingerbread Man Cookies

  1. Madeleine 18 November 2018

    I tried this recipe today for a cookie exchange and it was great! I baked the second batch a bit longer for crunchier cookies and liked it more. Will try it again closer to Christmas and use the cookies as decorations for the tree!

    Reply
  2. […] a delicious homemade twist, I recommend baking a batch of Gingerbread Men Cookies. In our home, baking gingerbread men is a way for me to introduce a touch of the Australian […]

    Reply
  3. The-FoodTrotter 1 December 2018

    I haven’t been there for quite a while, but I’m glad to visit your blog during holiday season… These gingerbread man cookies are lovely and so neat. I’d love them habnging on my Xmas tree 🙂

    Reply
  4. […] Gingerbread Man Cookies […]

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