There is still time to fill your house with the heartwarming aroma of baking gingerbread men!! And here is one easy recipe for you that is egg and nut free (as usual, just be sure none of your ingredients have cross contamination warnings). The dough does need to chill in the fridge for a couple hours and then needs to be rolled out in batches, so you’ll need to plan ahead to be sure you have the time and room in your fridge for a sheet pan. But on the other hand, the recipe used butter from the fridge! No need to remember to pull butter out to come to room temperature – often my downfall.
I discovered this recipe on one of my go to blogs, Art of Dessert, which features many allergy friendly recipes. I was determined to make egg-free gingerbread men with my daughter this year and this one sounded very doable. I thought they would be yummy for us, and make nice homemade gifts – and they scored high on both counts! My daughter and I had a blast making them. And I even love these little guys just sitting on our counter since one glance and you can’t help but smile, in addition to the lovely scent surrounding them. So, here it is with a few minor changes to suit our tastes and some tips for you.
By the way, the author says the recipe can also be used to make gingerbread house parts! I think I’ll try that next year!
Gingerbread Men (Egg-Free)
Art of Dessert says it makes 4 dozen cookies, 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches in size. I think our cookie cutter is a bit bigger and I let my daughter play with some of the cutout leftovers, we only got slightly over 2 dozen.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1.5 Tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp. corn syrup or honey (we used honey)
In a saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, milk and honey at low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat then pour into a mixing bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours. Since the dough tends to get too soft at room temperature, take out only a portion at a time. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes and transfer them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
- When flattening the dough to go in the fridge, it helps to try to shape into a square or rectangle since rolling out into those shapes will get you the most cut outs per rolled out dough piece.
- Take a wooden skewer, measure 1/8” on one end and mark it with a pen/marker. Use this to check your thickness when rolling out your dough to cut. Super quick and easy. I saved my little skewer and used it for two batches.
- If you are like me, you have often complained about rolled parchment paper which never lays flat and requires scissors to cut to fit or folding over on every side. There had to be a better way. Turns out, King Arthur Flour makes half-sheet flat baking parchment!! I had never heard of them until I was recently reading Peter Reinhart’s The Baker’s Apprentice. I ordered some and have been so pleased. I do still have to fold over one edge just a bit for our baking sheets. But they work wonderfully and can be used a few times. I used 2 sheets total for these cookies, one for the chilled dough, and the other repeatedly for cooking the cookies on.
- If you are going to make ornaments out of them, be sure to make a whole in the top before you bake. A straw works well for this.
- If you want to imprint eyes and buttons onto the cookies, also do so before they bake. The flat part of a wooden skewer also works well for this. We did a combination, our first batch we left plain and added embellishments with frosting. I then realized that frosting (at least what we used) doesn’t always stay pretty when you try to package and gift. Ours squished a bit. So we just imprinted faces and buttons on our second batch so they looked dressed without needing anything extra. And they looked lovely that way in cellophane bags tied with red ribbon – which is what we attached to the holiday cards we gave our daughter’s teachers this year.
- The flavor of the cookies improves after a day. Store them in an airtight container as they will absorb moisture from the air. On the flipside, if your cookies are a little on the crunchy side, leave them out for a day and they will be perfect. And they last a long time. We made some as gifts and were told they were still tasty a week and a half later!