Martha Stewart’s Gingerbread Men Cookie Recipe Just Walked In (Right in Time for the Holidays!) by Ann Marie Patitucci
Whenever I think of Christmas, a few special cookies come to mind: my mom’s Italian butter balls, my mother-in-law’s sugar cookies, my peanut butter blossoms and gingerbread cookies. However, we don’t have a family member who regularly makes gingerbread people cookies (clearly, we need one!).
As a life-long student of history and culture, I enjoy learning the origins of recipes. While it’s possible that gingerbread can be traced as far back as 1500 B.C.E., the first account of gingerbread cookies shaped like people is from England in the 16th century. Presumably, Queen Elizabeth I had her cooks bake biscuits (cookies) and cut them into the shapes of people, and then had them decorated to look like her suitors and dinner guests. What a fun origin story!
While I may not be a royal or even my family’s gingerbread whiz, I do have a recipe to share with you. It’s Martha Stewart’s, so it’s a great one! I’ve modified it only slightly. Maybe with this holiday cookie recipe in hand, you can become your family’s gingerbread people baker!
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour to chill
Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: Makes about 24 gingerbread people (6 inches)
- 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsulfured molasses
- icing, for decorating
- currants, for decorating (optional)
Here’s how to make it:
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Add the molasses. Mix well. With the machine on low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Divide the dough into thirds and wrap each piece of dough in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat nonstick baking mats. Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into gingerbread people. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.
- To decorate cookies, press currants into dough to create buttons, if desired. Bake cookies until crisp but not darkened, about 15 minutes (ovens vary). I recommend checking the cookies at 10 minutes. If you over-bake them, they’ll not only be darkened but also too hard. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies with icing.
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