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Gingerbread People

Keep your gingerbread ladies and gents looking their most dapper with this playful recipe.

  • prep: 55 mins
    total time: 1 hour 55 mins
  • yield: Makes 18

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoons powdered egg whites (meringue powder)

Cook's Note

Make sure the disks of dough are well-chilled so they're easy to roll out thin. Roll from the center out, and aim for an even thickness, stopping just short of the edge of the dough. A quick dip in flour will keep the cookie cutter from sticking to the dough. Look for powdered egg whites in the baking aisle at your supermarket.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months (thaw before baking).

  2. Step 2

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. Working with one disk at a time, place dough on lightly floured parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thick, dusting lightly with flour as needed. Using paper, lift dough onto two baking sheets; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Remove paper and dough from baking sheets. Using a long offset spatula, loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and brush off any excess flour. Transfer to baking sheets. (Gather scraps, briefly freeze, and re-roll.)

  4. Step 4

    For softer cookies, bake 8 to 10 minutes; for crunchier cookies, bake 11 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

  5. Step 5

    Make icing: In a large bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, powdered egg whites, and 1/4 cup water (if needed, adjust consistency with confectioners' sugar). Transfer icing to a pastry bag with a small tip, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and snip a small hole in one corner. Decorate cookies as desired.

Source
Everyday Food, December 2007

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Reviews (21)

  • Happy_Birthday_Dr_Seuss 20 Jan, 2013

    Gingerbread People
    Russell's Sunday Dinner
    Nutritious and Delicious!

  • chaos 23 Dec, 2012

    I've made these for years-very tasty but a little time consuming (like all gingerbread cookies and other rolled cookies). I add a little black pepper to them for an added kick. And I probably drop the salt to 1/2 or 3/4 tsp (really never measure salt, just use enough in sweets to bring out the other flavors.

  • Souraya Maouad Daou 19 Dec, 2012

    I tried this recipe and it ended up tasting too salty and bitter. We couldn't taste the spices because the molasses and salt just covered all the other flavors!
    Are you sure it's 1 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 molasses?

  • annelize 13 Dec, 2012

    could one replace the molasses with golden syrup?

  • napalady 1 Dec, 2012

    I have been baking these cookies for a number of years and love them. I bake them for customers and family, and have yet to have a negative comment. These cookies do take work but well worth it.

  • nystudio107 4 Dec, 2011

    I don’t have any issues with this recipe at all. Make sure you chill the dough well like you do sugar cookies. Love it and will make it again!

  • ksnow07 10 Dec, 2010

    On the new mstewart cookie app it leaves out flour as an ingredient for this recipe!! No wonder they tasted like pure butter. i want a refund, terrible app and hardly any content

  • annjen 9 Dec, 2010

    I tried these cookies yesterday and had a terrible time with the dough. It was so sticky, even after re-chilling them I couldn't get them off of the parchment paper. I ended up scrapping the dough off and rolling it into balls and flattening them out, sort of making a ginger snap. Taste was good but I don't think I'll make them again.

  • glorybees7 2 Dec, 2009

    Are these chewy or crunchy? I need a chewy gingerbread roll out cookie recipe.

  • Ms_Abby 1 Dec, 2009

    sorry I didn't get to finish what I was saying...there's teh Gingerbread Cookies, and the gingerbread People. Besided the obvious differences with the ingredients...what other differences, taste or texture, are there between these two recipes?

  • Ms_Abby 1 Dec, 2009

    I noticed that Marth has two kinds of Gingerbread cookies recipes - The Gingerbread Cookies

  • wunderland 20 Feb, 2009

    this is a great recipe; perfect for the holidays. i make mine with light brown sugar. i do not like the recommended icing though.

    make sure the dough is rolled at a consistent thickness or you'll end up with some softer and some harder cookies. DO NOT over-bake!

  • rosie123 30 Dec, 2008

    I love this recipe, the cookies are nice and spicy and the icing dries hard because of the egg whites so they are great as gifts, not too messy. I'm sure they could last more than a week in an airtight container, I shipped some out to relatives.

  • jeanob14 24 Dec, 2008

    These are great even plain. I have yet to decorate a batch because they always taste so good. Mine have stayed in an airtight container for up to a week in a cool place.

  • Sugar_Sister 18 Dec, 2007

    Gingerbread is nice but you can do the same thing with sugar cookie dough or chocolate roll out dough. They get a little crunchy when used on the tree but if you dunk them in coffee, tea or milk you will not notice it. Enjoy!

  • moniqueriedel 14 Dec, 2007

    Do you know how long these will stay fresh in an airtight container? I am looking for pretty cookies to offer as gifts, but I need them to stay good for at least a week. Thanks! Monique.

  • bdurso 5 Dec, 2007

    I don't think these would make good ornaments for more than just a day. The cookies have sugar in them that would attract insects. Also, I think they would dry out. There are several salt dough ornament recipes on the Internet. You could add cinnamon and cocoa powder to those to make them look like ornaments.

  • Deb 5 Dec, 2007

    Candace--the dough can be frozen up to a couple weeks ahead and thawed in the fridge before baking. You can also freeze the undecorated baked cookies in layers between sheets of parchment paper. Happy baking!

  • DawgsFan 29 Nov, 2007

    Would these work to use as orniments? Any ideas?

  • CandaceMyndio 27 Nov, 2007

    Can I freeze these?

  • etawalker 21 Nov, 2007

    A really great-tasting gingerbread cookie. We went the "softer cookie" route, and were very pleased with the end result.