Cookies | December 13, 2012

Soft Gingersnaps & Gingerbread Men

Who doesn’t love to get a little gingerbread man as part of their massive intake of sugary gifts around the holidays? They’re usually decorated pretty cute, and really are the icon of Christmas cookies.


An overhead shot of Soft Gingersnaps and Gingerbread Men

Soft Gingersnaps on a cake stand

*the largest gingerbread man made measures 20 feet tall and 1,308 pounds

*it has it’s own fairy tale, The Gingerbread Man (‘Run, run, as fast as you can; you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man’)

*in the famous Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, there’s a whole army of the little guys that help defeat the evil Mouse King. Go Team GB!

*Candy Land anyone? The Gingerbread People rule that game

*Gingy! The crazy, lovable Gingerbread Man from the Shrek movies

Notice nowhere did I mention how they’re known for blowing your tastebuds’ minds.

Friends, I have changed that, right here, right now. Not only can you make the softest, most flavorful Gingersnap cookies, but you can turn that same recipe into the most delicious Gingerbread Men with a couple extra steps.

Soft Gingersnaps on a plate and cake stand

Soft Gingersnaps

First, you must use real ginger. I cheat and use fresh ginger from a tube. Have you ever used an actual ginger root? It’s really quite tedious, as you must peel the skin, then grate the actual pulp, but then you run into the middle core after a few grates so you have to flip it and grate the other side; most of it just stays on the grater so you have to pick it off….just say no. Get the tube.

Molasses is the other key to great cookies. There is mild, dark, and blackstrap molasses. I recently started buying dark, just to get more a robust flavor. Apparently blackstrap has all sorts of vitamins and minerals and oodles of health benefits, but I haven’t found that yet. Dark (or full) is a happy medium.

One of the best things I did was go out and buy an oven thermometer. You hang the thermometer from one of your racks, and it tells you how hot your oven actually is. Turns out mine is 25 degrees too hot.

Frost those babies with melted white chocolate chips, shortening, and almond extract.
Have you ever had candied ginger? That stuff has some kick! It’s certainly not candy for the faint of heart. I can’t really eat it plain, but atop a sweet cookie, it’s absolutely perfect. You can usually find candied ginger wherever you find your bulk nuts, oats, and whole-foods candy.

A Soft Gingersnap on a white plate with a bite out

Gingerbread Men

Next, the men of your Christmas lives…
soft on the inside, slightly crispy on the edges, a little spicy, and uber playful.
Take the remaining half of your dough and mix in 1/2 c flour.
Cut out your men. And women. And babies with curly Q’s as hair.
I like my men a little crispy on the edges. If you’re like me, you’re gonna wanna bake these for 11-12 minutes. If you’d like them softer, more like bread, keep it at 10 minutes.

Gingerbread dough on a marble surface with a gingerbread man cookie cutter

In the meantime, make your royal icing. This icing recipe is not mine, I found it here.
Royal icing is actually very simple, and it looks so elegant! I love it! It’s easy to work with, and the video on piping techniques really helped. Letting the icing fall onto the cookie with you leading it aids in getting those smooth, straight lines.

Gingerbread men on a white surface with icing and sprinkles for decorating

Gingerbread men on a plate decorated with icing

Decorating Your Gingerbread Men

Decorating is usually my favorite part, except when it’s midnight and I just worked an insanely stressful 13-hour shift after only sleeping a couple hours the previous night, spent a couple hours at the doctor’s on the way home to get some antibiotics because my throat wanted to be on my outsides, then burst into tears because the pharmacy wouldn’t fill said antibiotics, I’m exhausted, and I didn’t even get to see my kid that day. It’s amazing what a hot shower will do for your desires to pipe some frosting and throw down some red-hots.

An ovehead shot of gingerbread men

Go ahead, break a leg.

A half eaten gingerbread man on a white plate
5 from 1 vote
Soft Gingersnaps & Gingerbread Men
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins

An easy and fun recipe that's perfect for the holiday. Decorate these gingerbread men and snaps however you like with icing and sprinkles.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Cookies, GIngerbread Men
Servings: 24 gingersnaps and almost 2 dozen gingerbread men
Calories: 160 kcal
Author: Stephanie
Soft Gingersnaps
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c full unsulphured molasses
  • 4 c flour
  • 4 t baking soda
  • 2 T fresh ginger
  • 4 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cloves
  • sugar to roll dough in
Soft Gingersnap garnish
  • 1 pkg. white chocolate chips
  • 1/8 c shortening
  • 1/2 t almond extract>
  • candied ginger diced
Gingerbread Men
  • additional 1/2 c flour
Royal Icing
  • 3 T warm water
  • 1 1/4 T meringue powder
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 8 oz. powdered sugar
  • food coloring and red hots for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix flour, soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves in bowl, set aside.
  3. In mixer combine sugar and oil, then add eggs, molasses, and fresh ginger.
  4. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture, combine well.
  5. Remove half of the dough from the bowl; this will be your gingersnap dough, while the remaining dough will be transformed into your gingerbread men later.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar in a small bowl.
  7. Bake 10 minutes, cool completely on cooling rack.
  8. Melt chocolate chips and shortening in microwave in glass bowl for 1 minute. Stir until completely melted. Add in almond extract.
  9. Once cookies are cool, dip half of the cookie into the chocolate.
  10. Dice pieces of candied ginger and sprinkle on chocolate. Let harden, then store cookies covered.
  11. For the gingerbread men, add 1/2 c flour to the remaining dough.
  12. Use cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men, place on parchment paper on baking sheet. Chill cutouts on baking sheets prior to baking while oven is preheating. Preheat oven to 350, bake 11 minutes.
  13. Make royal icing by whisking water with meringue powder for 30 seconds.
  14. Whisk in cream of tartar for 30 seconds.
  15. Add powdered sugar, beat with paddle mixer 10 minutes on lowest speed.
  16. Pipe icing onto cooled gingerbread men, let harden until set (a couple hours).
Nutrition Facts
Soft Gingersnaps & Gingerbread Men
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Cholesterol 7mg2%
Sodium 157mg7%
Potassium 21mg1%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


5 thoughts on “Soft Gingersnaps & Gingerbread Men

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  1. Approximately how many cookies does this make of each? I need three dozen of each type of cookie … do I double the recipe? triple it? etc?


    1. Honestly I’m not quite sure how many this recipe makes, I apologize for not writing it down! If I remember correctly, my guess is that it makes about 1 to 1 1/2 dozen of each, so I think you’d be safe doubling it. I used a medium-sized cookie cutter, so you could always buy a small cookie cutter and make them small to ensure you had enough. Same with the gingersnaps, make them a little small if you end up having not enough dough. Each cookie is decadent enough with the white chocolate-dipping and the decorating that smaller will be plenty. I planned on making these again this year, so as soon as I get to that, I’ll try to post how many I got. Good luck! That’s a lot of cookies :)

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, I like YOUR article. I have a childhood memory of someone making a cookie sheet sized gingerbread man Decorated with all kinds of candies. I have never found a recipe or instructions to make it. Can you help?