Jan 16, 2012

Gingerbread Men Sugar Cookies

I love a good traditional Christmas. And nothing says Christmas better than decorating gingerbread men! The first Christmas Broc and I were married was my first attempt at gingerbread men cookies. It was a new recipe, and my skills of baking / cooking back then were very lacking. Seven years later, I am still using the same recipe. It is a bit different than the traditional gingerbread recipes, in that there is no molasses. I like to think of these as gingerbread sugar cookies. They are soft, moist, spiced to perfection and when decorated with some cream cheese spice frosting... oooh yummy Christmas goodness! We make these guys every December 23, it has become one of our traditions. It has seemed to work out perfectly. Christmas Eve is always filled with so many things, wrapping, family, dinner parties, etc... so it just makes sense to make them on the 23. Then they are already made and ready to set out for Santa on Christmas Eve night! 

Crew is at the best age! Christmas was so magical for him this year. This was his creation! Just perfect! 

Now onto the recipe:

Gingerbread Men

1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg 
1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in egg. Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon; and stir into the pudding mixture. Cover and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets. On a floured surface roll dough out about 1/4 inch thickness. (Original recipe says 1/8 of an inch, but I like to my men to be a little thicker.) Cut into shapes using cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes. Or just until the edges are golden. Do not overbake!!! I promise these guys are much better soft!  Cool on wire rack. Frost using cream cheese spiced frosting. 

This frosting was a first try this year! I usually do a traditional cream cheese frosting to decorate these men. But decided to spruce it up a bit and throw in some spices. It was the perfect addition the gingerbread men needed! Oh I just love this frosting. 

Cream Cheese Spice Frosting

1 (8- ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. butter (half of a stick), softened
1/8 tespoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I never measure, just add until it is tastes right)
2 Tbsp. canned milk, warmed to room temperature (your frosting will curdle if you add it cold)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla (I promise this vanilla makes all the difference)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
a shake of ground nutmeg

In a bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in salt and vanilla. Gradually add canned milk and powdered sugar. If you want a stiffer frosting add more powdered sugar or omit the canned milk. If you like it a little more light and creamy add more milk. Always taste as you go! Frosting recipes should just be a base. I always taste and add to my liking. Be creative and try new things. If you have never ventured out to add your touch in cooking/ baking, frostings are a great way to start. Spruce up whatever it is you are making by adding a little hint of something new!

Happy Baking! 

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