The best ever gingerbread men recipe I have tried. With the right amount of ginger and homemade golden syrup, this recipe yields absolutely delicious gingerbread cookies.
My children love gingerbread men cookies. So this batch of cookies I made are a special request from my 6 year old boy who had been asking me to bake them for a few weeks now.
I postponed the baking for quite a while simply because I did not have any stock of golden syrup with me. So last weekend, I made a fresh batch of homemade golden syrup and then finally, I was able to whip up a batch of these delicious homemade gingerbread men cookies for my son.
This recipe was adapted from my mom's old recipe collection. The main ingredients for these cookies are typically the same as many other cookies - flour, butter, sugar and eggs and the additional special ingredients that make these cookies special are the ground ginger and golden syrup.
For these cookies, I used a combination of plain flour and self raising flour, however, the self raising flour is significantly lower in proportion of 5:1. And I used both baking powder and baking soda in equal proportions as the raising agents. The resulting cookies were just nicely puffed as how gingerbread men cookies should be and not overly increased in size.
As for the sugar, everyone who have baked gingerbread cookies would agree, brown sugar is the best. It gives the cookies the depth in flavor which is most befitting for these traditional cookies.
The other ingredient that is worth mentioning here is the golden syrup. Because it is liquid in nature, the amount added into a recipe is pretty limited or else the texture of the cookie dough will be too soft and sticky. And because of the inclusion of golden syrup in the recipe, you will notice that the amount of sugar in the recipe is proportionately smaller compared to the flour. Not all gingerbread cookie recipes use golden syrup. I have seen some that use molasses and treacle but I prefer to use golden syrup simply because I make it my own. Its super easy to make and cheap too. Plus it produces great tasting cookies. Get my full recipe and video tutorial on how to make homemade golden syrup here.
The next most important ingredient in these delicious cookies is the ground ginger. Well, it is probably the most important ingredient in these cookies because after all, ginger forms part of the name of these cookies and the cookies are called gingerbread for a reason. So, perhaps I should rephrase my sentence and say that ginger is the most important ingredient in the cookie.
I used ground ginger that is store bought. And while my mom's original recipe called for only 1.5 tablespoons of ginger powder, I actually increased the amount in my recipe to 2.5 tablespoons. That did not over power the taste of the cookies with ginger. In fact, it was just the perfect amount for a subtle ginger flavored cookies.
Mixing of the cookie dough is also similar to most cookies. I creamed the butter, salt, brown sugar and also the golden syrup until it was all nice and creamy. And then the egg went it and after it was all well incorporated into the creamed mixture, I sifted in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and ground ginger into the mixture until it was well combined.
The cookie dough, at room temperature (I live in a very hot and humid country) was a little soft but not sticky. I wrapped it in cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let the dough firm up.I then rolled the dough between 2 sheets of plastic (you can also use parchment paper) and cut it out using my gingerbread men cookie cutter . My cookie cutter was not a very large one, so my gingerbread men cookies measured 6.5 cm long (from head to the toes) and 5 cm wide (at the widest part of the cookies which is the feet). For this size, I managed to get a total of 50 gingerbread cookies for the recipe measure below.
As for the decoration, traditionally, gingerbread men are typically decorated with raisins and cherries and glaze icing or royal icing. I choose not to use any of these. In fact, I used only gold dragees. I used 2 for the eyes and another 2 for the buttons. And I must say, not only was it an easier decorating option, the cookies looked pretty good too.
I saved some of the cookies to decorate them into gingerbread boys and girls and have created a separate tutorial on it, so if you are keen to see my decorated gingerbread boys and girls, check them out here.
Here is the full, printable version of the gingerbread men recipe: