Perfect Gingerbread Men

Cover recipe- Food Network Magazine, Perfect Gingerbread Men with Royal Icing: December 2010

The theme of this month’s Food Network Magazine is “123 Fun Holiday Recipes… like these easy gingerbread men.”  It’s certainly a festive, Christmas cover, complete with easy appetizers, no fuss dinners and 50 holiday drink recipes.  One of the best features this month:  100 gifts for food lovers!

When I first started receiving this magazine, I was a little skeptical… I thought they’d just be advertising their shows and pushing products.  I have to say that I really enjoy the magazine.  There’s a visual recipe index at the beginning, which helps me decide immediately if I’m interested in a recipe or not.  They do utilize the Food Network Stars in many of the articles and recipes, but there’s quite a lot of extra stuff in there too.  Love the monthly reader recipe contest at the end of the magazine.

The cover features Perfect Gingerbread Men, and there is a cute section within the magazine- Ten ways to creatively decorate Gingerbread Men and Women. Read on to find out my take how these Gingerbread Men turned out…

Print Print Recipe

Perfect Gingerbread Men with Royal Icing

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 30 min + chill time

Cook Time: 10 min


3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
6 Tbsp. melted butter
1 Tbsp. melted shortening
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
additional flour for rolling

2 Tbsp. meringue powder
1 lb. powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. water
food coloring, if desired


1.  In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients- through allspice.  In a separate large bowl, mix butter, shortening, sugar, molasses and egg with an electric mixer.  Beat in flour mixture in two additions.
2.  Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and pat to 1/2-inch thick.  Chill 2 hours.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to 1/4-inch thick, dusting with flour, if needed.  Cut into 3 to 5-inch gingerbread men and arrange 1-inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Brush off the excess flour and chill 15 minutes.
4.  Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool, then decorate.
5.  Prepare icing:  Sift meringue powder and confectioner's sugar into a large bowl.  Beat in water with a mixer until glossy with soft peaks  Tint with food coloring, if desired.
6.  To draw:  Transfer the icing to a resealable plastic bag; snip the tip of one corner.  For dots:  hold the bag at a 90 degree angle.  For outlines, hold it at a 45 degree angle.  Pipe onto the cooled cookies.  To fill:  draw an outline with the icing, then thin the icing with milk or water until it's the consistency of glue and spread inside the outline with a paintbrush.


*Love the plentiful spices in this recipe.
*This was a very simple dough to make and work with.   I skipped the part where it says to put it into a plastic bag and just covered my mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chilled it that way. The dough was very forgiving... and rolled and re-rolled perfectly.
*I made large, medium & small gingerbread men.  11 minutes in the oven was perfect timing for me.
*I've made a lot of Royal Icing in my day... this recipe was a little different than my usual recipe and it worked out just fine. The icing hardened pretty quickly so you have to get decorations on asap.

Source:  Food Network Magazine, December 2010

The results:

Although time consuming, they turned out cute! The cover recipe features a Gingerbread Woman with a marshmallow dress. Snip mini marshmallows in half with scissors; toss in colored sugar (it sticks to the cut side). Attach them to the cookie using royal icing. In the magazine cover photo, the marshmallows are a bit teared and overlapping. I couldn’t quite get mine to do that, but I think it still came out looking rather cute. I love the little flower on top. Kind of a funny side-note… I didn’t have a Gingerbread Woman cookie cutter, so I used paper to trace the outline of the cookie on the cover, then cut that out and used it to trace a Gingerbread Woman from my cookie dough. Oh, the things I’ll do to replicate a cover!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Absolutely!  It’s completely festive for the month of December, and there is a wonderful feature inside on how to creatively decorate Gingerbread Men.  Turns out that they’re also having a contest– design your ultimate gingerbread man and send in a photo to  Your design could appear on their website, and you might win a year-long subscription to the magazine for 10 friends!

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

11 Responses to “Perfect Gingerbread Men”

  1. 1

    Caroline — December 10, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

    Nothing says christmas like gingerbread men! The Food Network magazine has some great recipes and, like you, I am a fan of their visual index

  2. 2

    Elle — December 11, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    Oh, great job–it looks so sweet! Also love to hear that the dough is easy to work with–that’s good to know. I may just check out the mag, too. I’ve kind of avoided because I thought the same thing you did.

  3. 3

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — December 11, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    fun recipe! She’s so cute :)

  4. 4

    Kelly — December 11, 2010 @ 9:15 am

    Love it! And perfect timing, too. I discovered some fun Christmas cookie cutters I’d completely forgotten about and want to make gingerbread cookies with them. Now I know what recipe to use!

  5. 5

    bridget {bake at 350} — December 11, 2010 @ 9:28 am

    I was just staring at the cover of this magazine a few days ago! That gingerbread girl is so, so CUTE!!!

  6. 6

    Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) — December 11, 2010 @ 10:18 am

    Oh these are truly adorable!! Lovee the flower :)

  7. 7

    LilSis — December 11, 2010 @ 10:52 am

    I subscribe to this magazine also and I always find great recipes in it! I loved this cover and it made me want to make my own gingerbread men, (and women), but I haven’t yet tackled the challenge. I’ve never made gingerbread before so I’m a bit intimidated!

    Yours turned out as cute as the one on the cover!! :-)

  8. 8

    Jennie @ Oh, Sweet Day! — December 11, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

    You did a fabulous job recreating them!!

  9. 9

    Tracey — December 11, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

    Your gingerbread woman is adorable! I’ve been eying this recipe since I saw the cover and am finally making it this weekend so I’m glad to hear it turned out well.

  10. 10

    Jenn@eatcakefordinner — December 11, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

    I just purchased this magazine, I couldn’t resist that cute cover. Your gingerbread woman looks perfect. So cute.

  11. 11

    Cristina @ TeenieCakes — December 16, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

    Good to know about The Food Network magazine. Like you, I’ve also been skeptical about its contents…but admittedly, haven’t really ever given it a try. I enjoy watching many of the network’s personalities and shows, but didn’t want cookware and products splashed all over my magazine pages’ content (which wouldn’t be any different from any of the other food mags).

    I luv what you’ve done here on this site of Culinary Covers. What a great idea!

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