I am winding down my crazy holiday cookie decorating season by keeping it simple with these gingerbread people in Festive Fancy Pants! If you’re busy or just not inclined to make a bunch of colors like I did, even simple white lines of icing will yield great results. It’s all about the facial expressions, gestures and outfits on these little people. My favorites are the ones wearing overalls, my personal clothing choice almost every day of the week!!
Materials needed: a variety of gingerbread people cookie cutters, gingerbread cookie dough (my recipe is at the bottom of the post) prepared, chilled and rolled out, royal icing (I use this recipe) in various colors, disposable piping bags, pastry tips #1.5 (or small sizes of choice).
Step 1: Make the cookies:
Use your preferred gingerbread people cutters to cut shapes from the rolled out dough. Place shapes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. For variety, while the dough is still fairly cool, adjust the arms, legs and/or heads to give them a little more character! Don’t worry if the shapes get a little dented. Just smooth them out with your fingers. Bake at 350°F until the edges are slightly firm, about 8 -12 minutes. Let cool completely.
Step 2: Prepare the icing-filled pastry bags
Prepare small bowls of icing in the colors you wish to use. I chose bright pastels and white. Adjust the icing until it is the consistency of toothpaste by thinning it with pasteurized egg whites or water, or thickening it with confectioners sugar. For every color you make, fit a pastry tube bag with a metal tip and add the various icings to the bags.
Step 3: Decorate the cookies:
Armed with several colors of icing in piping bags, you are ready to decorate. Get ideas from my cookies or come up with your own! We decided to focus on Fancy Pants for this batch. Check the internet for ideas for patterns and clothing styles if you need inspiration. The possibilities here are endless! Let the lines dry, which takes under an hour depending on how thick or wet they are.
TIPS for piping lines of royal icing onto a plain cookie surface:
- Wipe off the surface of the cookies with a paper towel before you decorate to make sure it is free from flour or crumbs.
- Your icing should be loose enough to adhere well to the cookie, but stiff enough to control.
- Keep an open mind with your designs! Some of my favorite “people” resulted from designs gone wrong!!
2/3 cup (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons, or 151 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed (100 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (420 grams) sifted All-Purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Cream together butter and sugar. Add spices, salt, egg and molasses, beat well on medium speed. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda; add to butter mixture and beat again to combine.
Divide dough into 2 or 3 parts, flatten into discs, and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill dough for several hours or overnight. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Dust surface generously with flour. This dough is forgiving!
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool.