Something fun for traditional gingerbread men for Christmas! Use a classic cut out gingerbread men recipe (not a soft baked nor one that has heavier butter/sugar content as they tend to spread out). The end result of this is a relatively stable, slightly chewy gingerbread cookie. Bake it a bit longer if you want a gingersnap-like texture. It burns easily though, so watch the oven and lower the temperature if necessary. The original recipe bakes at a relatively low temperature to prevent cracks and ‘burnt thinner edges’ eg from the arms and legs of these gingerbread men (so make sure the edges aren’t already tapered pre-oven). Also, putting cookies of similar sizes in the oven also prevents uneven baking.
I found a recipe on Smitten Kitchen that is adapted from Martha Stewart’s gingerbread stars. According to them, “this gingerbread is spicy and dark, chewy but sturdy and only a little sweet. If you’re used to more tepid gingerbread men, it will surprise you. If you always found gingerbread a little boring, it will delight you”. It’s the pepper!
It may also be tricky making these in Singapore heat, so just keep putting it back into the fridge to stabilize the dough. Work as fast as you can to cut out these fun gingerbread men! Once they’re out in the oven, hard part is over, fun part starts with the decorating!
Gingerbread Men Cookies adapted from Smitten Kitchen
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
|To make Gingerbread Men
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold and firm, about one hour or up to two days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes of your choice, such as gingerbread men. Spread two inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until the cookies firm up again, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
When cool, you can decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. When you pipe designs, sprinkle the icing with sanding sugar and let it sit for five minutes before tapping off the excess sugar. Then let the icing set completely at room temperature, which will take an hour or so, depending on how thick it is.
Store cookies between layers of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container for up to a week.