Monday, November 28, 2011

Gingerbread Heads

The season of giving will be upon us in just a few short days. I love December. People start baking and sharing sweets with friends and family … even people that might not normally bake any other time of the year. There is just something about the holidays and baking for others that makes people feel good to give.

I like to give fudge, pies, cake balls, cookies… cookies … and more cookies. I don’t really have a favorite kind though. But, one thing I like to do is make people smile, so I thought I would make some sweet little gingerbread cookies to share and get the season started off right.


I like my sweets on the smaller side, so I end up with larger numbers. That way I have enough goodies to give away and enough to keep for me. I wanted to make gingerbread men, but I decided to just make the heads for two reasons:

One … more cookies.

Two … I could have fun and focus on their faces …

oh and three…… less piping and less chances for my icing to look crooked. : )


Ooooh, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

Can you smell it?


Add the spices to your flour … it will make your dough delicious.

I don’t have pics of the rest of the ingredients, but we don’t want to look at those anyway.

We want cookies. Cute cookies.


I used a small cookie cutter to make the base for the faces.


Little bitty blank canvases.


Where to start?


Well, I have to start by drawing ideas out first. Otherwise my faces would look all mangled. I use the same cutter to make several circle shapes on paper and sketch away. Then I place sprinkles on top of the drawings to see what works. It helps for me to have a point of reference when I start piping.


Ugh. I’m all excited about the possibilities up until right before I actually start. I always envision the cookies perfect in my head, but my hands just don’t like to play ball. They get shaky and then I get nervous and then my lines get more wobbly than they would if I just wouldn’t think about it.


This is pretty good though and probably as good as it’s gonna get.

Can someone please tell me how to make the lines meet without overlapping. My release needs work.


Since the edges of the cookies weren’t completely flat, I tried using the cutter dipped in flour to make a guide on the cookie. You can see a hint of the outline above.


It helped some… or not.


Once you pipe on all the details, you can start adding sprinkles for accents.


Or you could pipe them on in different icing colors. I chose sprinkles so I could control the shapes and so I didn’t have to mix a bunch of colors for tiny details.

Confetti sprinkles in different sizes, shapes and colors worked great for cheeks, eyes and bows.


Gingerheads. Look how cute. These are sure to make someone smile.


Big smiles. Big cheeks. And hopefully happy recipients.


See how versatile the jumbo flower sprinkle is.

When I finished playing with gingerbread heads, I powered up to pipe snowmen faces.


Looking good.

By the way, so glad I stocked up on black confetti sprinkles this Halloween. They do come in handy.


I’ve only really made decorated cookies a handful of times. And they’ve all been since I started blogging. Usually I will pipe the outline and let it dry before filling in the shape. But I wanted to be like my cookie decorating friends and make my edges look seamless and my tops puffy.

So I tried my icing consistency somewhere in between the outline and the flood consistency. I drew the outline and started filling in right away.


Crossing fingers it doesn’t flow over the sides.


Yay! Success.


I think I like doing cookies this way better.

These were easier than the gingerbread faces because you aren’t as focused on lines that could be wonky.


Again, I just used sprinkles to make most of the accents.

Confetti sprinkles, sugar crystals and coated sunflower seeds, too.

Just place them carefully in position while the icing is still wet.

Wait to draw on any details though, until completely dry.


I think this little guy might be my favorite snowman face. His hat is so sweet.

The earmuffs are tic tacs which don’t really go with gingerbread, but they were the right size and color.


Pipe the bottom half of the face first and let it dry. Then outline the shapes for the hat and fill it in with more icing. While it’s still wet, dip it in sugar crystals. If you lose any of the shapes, you can press in slightly with a toothpick.


I don’t know what she’s wearing. It’s not really a bow or a hat. Let’s say she’s British and call it a fascinator if anyone asks.


These were incredibly fun to make and so colorful for using only white icing. So even if you’re not a cookie decorating wizard, you can still make adorable treats with simple sprinkles. Which ones would you like to be given?


Gingerbread Cookies

5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cup butter, slightly soft
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses

  • Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix until combined.
  • Add molasses and mix until combined.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture and mix until combined and a dough forms.
  • Divide dough into four sections and shape each into a flattened disc.
  • Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out each disc between two sheets of parchment paper using a rolling pin.
  • Flour the sides of the paper that will touch the dough to make it a little easier to release.
  • Cut out shapes and remove excess dough to reuse.
  • Leave cutouts on parchment paper and transfer to cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

For the icing, mix together four cups confectioner’s sugar and four tablespoons meringue powder with about four tablespoons water. If it’s too thick, add more water a teaspoon at a time. Or if it’s too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar. Decorate using a #2 to outline and #3 tip to fill in.


P.S. Thought you might like to see my mess. I usually place sprinkles I’m using in the caps of the containers they come in so I can sort through and find the color I need. But when I get excited and impatient, things start to look like this. I waste a lot of sprinkles this way.

Do you give goodies during the holidays? What’s your favorite sweet to share?


This post is sponsored by Glad. Did you know that you can turn your sweet tooth into a donation to help support pediatric cancer research? Visit Glad to Give™ for more information.

Niteowl Nancy said...

Absolutely adorable! You are always such an inspiration! I can’t wait to show this post to my 9yo daughter. We will need to add these to our growing list of Christmas cookies to make.

November 30, 2011 02:20 PM
Liz said...

This are insanely cute!!

November 30, 2011 02:59 PM
Amanda said...

I loooove these. I think I like the snowmen better. They’re so adorabley cuute!

November 30, 2011 03:37 PM
Amie Braegger said...

I learned last year to make the best English toffee in the world. I like to give that out.

November 30, 2011 09:11 PM
Helen said...

If you overlap the icing you can smooth it out with a small paint brush with a little water. I do it sometimes when I’m feeling especially OCD.
These are so cute! My mom used to make fudge for the neighbors every Christmas, and I’ve picked up on the tradition and give out fudge to my friends’s families.

November 30, 2011 09:12 PM
melanie said...

So I always always give away my baked treats for Christmas presents, particularly homemade truffles, but this year I had planned on doing gingerbread men personalized as my friends, I’m gonna steal your idea, so cute!!!

November 30, 2011 09:48 PM
Robyn said...

I have been in a rut… I haven’t baked (except for cake balls for Thanksgiving) and I have been looking for some inspiration to get back into the kitchen and “play”. Your snowman cookies are exactly what I needed! I can’t wait to bake!

November 30, 2011 11:48 PM
Laura said...

So adorable! I for sure will have fun making these cookies. You are amazing. thank you for sharing with all of us your talent and recipe. Happy Holidays!

November 30, 2011 11:58 PM
Jen Kim said...

Just tried your gingerbread recipe today and it’s delicious! I added a tsp of nutmeg to the mix and it came out great~ My 5 year old daughter is so excited that she gets to decorate them tomorrow~ She saw the pictures of your gingerbread faces and snowmen faces and wants to make hers look just like them~ =P

December 1, 2011 12:25 AM
TheMrs said...

Im very jealous of all your sprinkles!! VERY cute cookies!!! Cant wait to see what else you have in store this holiday season!!

December 1, 2011 01:17 AM
Yvonne said...

What an inspiring blog. I am so glad that I have just found and bookmarked you.

December 1, 2011 03:10 AM
Nina said...

Wow, these look amazing. Am totally inspired to make gingerbread people now. The world needs more gingerbread!!!

December 1, 2011 08:23 AM
Kae said...

Awww too cute to be eaten!!

December 1, 2011 10:22 AM
Leslie said...

Bakerella, I’d like to do this project with children but short on time (an hr max). Do you think the icing for the snowman will dry in time? Say within 15 min or less? If not, what would you recommend?

December 1, 2011 10:38 AM
Susan Doherty said...

You make the cutest cookies and I’ll plan on giving these a whirl for the Cookie Exchange party I’m hosting soon. My favourite sweet to give during the holidays are cookies. Ever since I’ve been in high school I’ve made a stockpile of cookies to give away to everyone and anyone–I just love baking! Thanks for sharing Angie and all the inspiration you provide.

December 1, 2011 01:08 PM
Debbie said...

I LOVE these! I’d like the snowmen – so cute. I usually give away mini Christmas cakes. I make a great big cake and cut it into smaller pieces and decorate each one differently. They’re cute. But this year it’s all about the pops :)

December 1, 2011 01:44 PM
Natalie said...

Wow! So cute. I am for sure trying these!

December 1, 2011 03:40 PM
melinda said...

That is an adorable change to the classic gingerbread…I really like the cute snowmen!

December 1, 2011 04:54 PM
kittyhere said...

Thanks for the inspiration. I love the snowman faces best.

December 1, 2011 05:05 PM
Riley said...

Can you post a recipe for the icing….I would love to know!!


December 1, 2011 05:13 PM
Natalie said...

Beyond Adorable!!!

December 1, 2011 09:13 PM
kyleen said...

These are adorable! I’ve never made decorated cookies before, but now I want to!

December 1, 2011 10:20 PM
Deena @ stay at home FOODIE said...

Love love LOVE!
I think these are the cutest, brightest, happiest gingerbread cookies ive ever seen.

December 1, 2011 11:51 PM
Mrs.L said...

I love to experiment with my baking during the holidays, my favorite thing to give out is mini pies :) yummy!

December 2, 2011 01:31 AM
Kinnarry said...

Hi.. i am from india & regularly follow ur website. These ginger cookies are cutest to be made for my 3yr old daughter.. Can u help me what is molasses?? can i use jaggery ?? let me know the brand you use. awaiting your reply. Thnx frm Kinnarry

December 2, 2011 05:40 AM
Kinnarry said...

hi again.. Also let me know there any other alternative to use for molasses?

December 2, 2011 05:45 AM
Kara said...

these r so cute! I am totally gonna make them with my family!!!

December 2, 2011 10:34 AM
Farhana said...

AWESOME! love how you drew out the cookie designs…atleast i know im not the only one!!

December 2, 2011 02:27 PM
Mighty Morgan said...

Adorable, adorable and more adorable. I LOVE how you sketch out what you will do before hand….GENUIS idea!!!

I too love to make, bake and giveaway around the holidays, my neighbors drool waiting for their cookies platters each year…lol

December 2, 2011 04:15 PM
Food Lover said...

Soooo beautiful & creative really! I love how you decorated them so MUCH!

December 2, 2011 06:35 PM
Flor Escudero said...

Simply loved it, you just made my day better.

December 2, 2011 07:10 PM
sheila said...

Those are stinkin’ cute. You are too hard on yourself. I love the last pic of the mess…keepin’ it real. =]

December 2, 2011 07:38 PM
soo said...

so adorableeeeeee! love love love!

December 2, 2011 08:29 PM
alex said...

these cookies put a big smile on my face, which is something ive needed. thank you bakerella :)

December 2, 2011 11:06 PM
Angella said...

these are amazing – and totally perfect for what I need! A Christmas treat for my daughter’s daycare group in a couple of weeks. The daycare she goes to is called Gingerbread and they will be having a special treat at school to watch Frosty the Snowman. These cookies look like just the right addition! Now… please share your icing recipe!!!!

December 2, 2011 11:21 PM
Beth Ann Effler said...

Absolutely adorable!! I love teaching a “Gingerbread unit” at preschool. So fun! I just might steal (I mean borrow) your decorating idea! Inspiring…

December 3, 2011 02:51 AM
Morgan said...

Oh my goodness, those are adorable! I’m planning on making most of my christmas gifts for my family and friends this year, and these guys might just be the ticket for my nieces. (Though, for the older one, I’m going to have to find out if you can dip gingerbread into chocolate!) I love the snowmen!

December 3, 2011 03:00 AM
Susana said...

just love it!!!!

December 3, 2011 05:42 AM
Colleen said...

These are such a great idea….my kids will love these and love making them. I love that all the essentials are out in your final pic….including the Sprite Zero LOL A girl gets thirsty when doing all this decorating!

December 3, 2011 07:46 AM
Terry said...

These are so precious! You are incredible! I would like to say that I am giong to make these for my friends, but honestly, I don’t know when I would fit it in : ( Maybe just the gingerbread cookie part – they sound yummy even without the frosting!

December 3, 2011 08:14 AM
Rasha T said...

so adorable.. these are next on my list!

December 3, 2011 10:20 AM
Elaine DiSanto said...

I love these!! Gingerheads are definitely on my cookie list now. We always make spritz, almond tri-colors, and checkerboards.

One question – how do you keep the dough from spreading? I have NEVER been able to get cookies to do that! I would love to have the secret to perfect circles that STAY ROUND!!!!

December 3, 2011 10:53 AM
Darlene said...

You are one talented lady!! These are adorable!!

December 3, 2011 10:54 AM
Shannon said...

We give away tons of cookies. My favorite is a magazine recipe from the 1950′s for the perfect sugar cookies.
Thanks for sharing!

December 3, 2011 11:37 AM
Culinary Collage said...

Your snowmen are sooooooo adorable!

December 3, 2011 12:26 PM
kandeel said...


December 3, 2011 12:38 PM
Stephanie said...

There are 243 comments so someone may have already said this, but Gail at the One Tough Cookie blog has an amazing lesson on piping circles.
Love the Snowmen :) love the use of choc covered sunflower seeds for the nose!

December 3, 2011 12:57 PM
jessica P said...

sometimes, the icing is what does it for me. I don’t use a meringue based frosting. the frosting i used is the one over at iambaker. her sugar glaze frosting is much easier to work with.

December 3, 2011 05:51 PM
Elaine said...

Soo cute!

December 3, 2011 08:41 PM
The Healthy Apple said...

These are adorable; you are so talented. LOVE all these great pictures, too!
So fun. Love it.

December 3, 2011 10:46 PM
heather k. said...

those are SO CUTE

December 4, 2011 08:54 AM
SandraM said...

Your talent is awe inspiring! Thank you for the gingerbread ideas. It is brilliant and I will have to try them. I love gingerbread men, but my decorating abilities are very limited. I like the idea of just faces.

December 4, 2011 10:21 AM
Nancy (aka Huntress) said...

Hey There, I am new to this site and absolutely love it, but I am having problems with emailing you and can not find where you purchased the confetti for the gingerbread heads and snowmen?
So frusterated I almost did not come back.Can you help me out?

December 4, 2011 01:54 PM
a3stars said...

Dear Sweet Bakerella,
You can pipe frosting better than you give yourself credit for, girl! I see your decorations and lines as nearly perfect! Any little slight flaw here or there only adds to their charm, giving your cookies that great “home made” feeling. Thanks for piping, it helps give me and others more courage to go and try our hands at it ourselves.
I love both sets of cookies, but if offred one, I would take a snow girl, MORE FROSTING! ;D
Love to you, Bakerella

December 4, 2011 04:22 PM
Susan said...

Adorable cookies! Almost too cute to eat.

December 4, 2011 06:07 PM
Grace said...

These are too cute! I have to make these. I love to give chocolate chip cookies for my neighbors and family. Maybe I’ll make these this year!

December 4, 2011 09:07 PM
Julie said...

I am so impressed by your piping – wow! I wish I could take a lesson from you!

December 4, 2011 10:59 PM
Herocakepops said...

These are such an amazing idea! I love them.

December 5, 2011 01:30 PM
laura lien said...

The snowmen … because they have more icing!


December 5, 2011 05:23 PM
MikeVFMK said...

I was waiting to be comment number 237. As you can tell, I succeeded! Props to me. These cookie heads are the bomb. Totally rad idea and pulled off as only you can. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at them and that makes me a bit uncomfortable.

December 5, 2011 05:30 PM
Tanya said...

Adorable! Do you think these would ship well? They are so cute but my family is across the country and I wanted to ship them something for Christmas. These would be perfect.

December 5, 2011 08:46 PM
JulieD said...

What a great idea on how to make a little outline! I love this! Saw these on instagram and instantly fell in love! Happy holidays to you and your family!!

December 5, 2011 09:02 PM
DC said...

Im dying! these are amazing.

December 5, 2011 09:46 PM
ana said...

hello ! im from mexico , i wannt to make some cookies and cupcakes decorate whit fondant for holidays . can you give me some cakecup recipe come well whit fondant , thank u !

December 5, 2011 10:36 PM
Angela said...

These are fantastic. I was planning on making gingerbread men this year, but these are just so cute I think it’s now going to be gingerbread heads!

December 5, 2011 11:52 PM
Brain Cox |Designer wedding cakes said...

This blog is very informative. The cookies looks really wonderful. Thanks, you shared the recipe also. This Christmas will be fabulous for me……… thanks………..

December 6, 2011 12:02 AM
Becca said...

These are so adorable. I hope you don’t mind but I “pinned” this on my pinterest food board but credited you and your blog. Kudos! The snowmen heads are my absolute fave!

December 6, 2011 02:02 AM
WENDY W said...

I made these for a cookie exchange this year. They turned out perfect and were a huge hit. The gingerbread cookie recipe is one of the best I have ever tasted!

December 6, 2011 12:49 PM
Cathy said...

Those are so cute! I love the snowmen too. The circles would look great as holiday ornaments too, with designs made with sprinkles and icing.

December 6, 2011 02:39 PM
Deb said...

THAT is not a mess by any stretch of the imagination, and there is nothing ‘wonky’ about anything you do. Everything you decorate looks absolutely perfect, so that bar is set pretty high for the rest of us!

December 6, 2011 03:39 PM
Sandy said...

You are incredibly creative! Adorable cookies – they brought a smile to my face :D AND I’m getting ready to decorate some right now!

December 6, 2011 06:42 PM
Megan (Bakerella Fan!) said...

I made these cookies the other day. They are SO good!

December 6, 2011 07:36 PM
Alyssa Grooms said...

How long did it take you to do these? It usually takes a long time to decorate cookies for me… I wanted to see if others were in the same boat

December 6, 2011 09:13 PM
stacy said...

I admit i didnt read all 270 comments- did i miss somewhere where you shared the diameter of your cutter for these??

December 6, 2011 11:14 PM
Danielle said...

The past few years, I’ve put together a hodge podge of goodies for my teammates in the office. Most delicious item – my toasted coconut & almond clusters. Cutest item – mint milano’s turned into sweet little Santa faces! Since I have changed jobs, my mom and I will be putting on our elf hats and making deliveries! :)

December 7, 2011 07:43 AM
Loveforfood said...

gosh that is so beautiful. i want to learn …

December 7, 2011 08:19 AM
Cupcake Clipart said...

The snowman are so adorable, I would love to make these, but I don’t like Gingerbread, however I would do them with sugar cookies instead.

December 7, 2011 12:19 PM
inès said...

ouah super les enfants vont craquer géniale!! merci bonne continuation

December 8, 2011 09:02 AM
Vanessa K said...

Can these gingerbread heads be made without eggs? I child at the school has allergies.

December 8, 2011 10:36 AM
Caroline @ Sifted Couture said...

My husband LOVES gingerbread cookies! I can’t wait to make these for him. He will be so happy!

December 8, 2011 11:45 AM
Sher said...

Oh my gosh! These gingerbread heads are just tooooo adorable!!! :) You amaze me with your constant creations.

December 8, 2011 04:23 PM
Emily said...

love these!! im not a big fan of gingerbread, but love the inspiration to do this on sugar cookies :)

December 8, 2011 08:31 PM
Trish said...

These have to be some of the cutest things I have ever seen. I am going to make them with my daughter and her friends for her birthday. Uber Excited!

December 9, 2011 12:53 AM
Celine said...

These are absolutely too cute! My kids have been wanting to do gingerbread men. This seems much easier. You have the best ideas! I can’t wait to try this.

December 9, 2011 05:47 PM
Alyssa said...

Who needs gingerbread men when you can have just the head?! The gingerbread snowmen heads are adorable! Everyone’s favorite part is biting off the heads anyways.

December 9, 2011 09:00 PM
Jeanetta DeBusk said...

HI! I fell in love with the snowman cookies on Pinterest and had to follow the link back to find the designer and I found you. Your blog is fascinating! I just had to make some of the snowman cookies, but didn’t have all the little decorations you used so I just used icing. They are not nearly as perfect as yours but everyone thinks they are sooooo cute. I loved making different faces on the little guys. Thank you for the idea and for sharing with me. I will be back to visit! Again, thanks for sharing!

December 10, 2011 08:54 AM
Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

These are so PRETTY!!!! I’d LOVE to receive a batch of these for Xmas :)

December 11, 2011 02:40 AM
Lisa molina said...

You have totally inspired me! Thank you thank you thank you. Merry Christmas ya’ll

December 11, 2011 12:03 PM
Catherine said...

Soooooooo stinkin’ cute! I love to make frosted ginger cookies, brownies w/ rolos tucked inside, peanut butter cookies w/ caramel kisses, german chocolate cake cookies w/ choc & caramel chips, chocolate chip banana bread mini loaves, regular chocolate chip cookies & candied orange peels (family recipe). My sister & I split the baking list & then put a little of everything in all the giveaway boxes… Then play santas elves & deliver it all! May have to add these this year although it’s already a lot!!

December 11, 2011 10:11 PM
Jody said...

bakerella did your cookies turn out hard, soft or chewy? I want to make these but I want them to be slightly chewy!

December 13, 2011 12:07 AM
Team A said...

I made the gingerbread last night and cooked up a few batches and the recipe for the dough turned out great….can’t wait to decorate them tonight!!!!

December 13, 2011 10:35 AM
Deb P said...

I posted some snowmen cookies I made this week. I was feeling pretty proud of them until I saw yours. You are so talented!

December 14, 2011 10:13 PM
Jessica said...

How do you transport these without damaging them?

December 15, 2011 01:31 PM
A.R.T said...

I think the snowmen tickle my fancy! Keep going, I am so glad you got over your little bump earlier on this year.

December 16, 2011 11:47 AM
Marian (Sweetopia) said...

Eeeep! These are absolutely perfect and just completely, completely adorable!
There’s no way I’d be able to pick between the two – both designs are so sweet! You never cease to amaze, delight and inspire me. Thank you, Angie!

December 17, 2011 12:14 AM
Bryant said...

I hope this isn’t a silly question (and sorry if someone else asked and I missed it) but do you use fresh-grated ginger or powder in your recipe?

December 18, 2011 04:21 PM
Linda said...

I love these! I think I may make a massive amount and give them out in bags for gifts. May be a silly question, but does the recipe taste good? Also, are these hard or soft cookies?

December 18, 2011 06:59 PM
Anonymous said...

I adore the snow people. I love to give chocolate dipped pretzels rods coated in a variety of toppings and sprinkles.

December 18, 2011 09:19 PM
Kirstin Olson said...

I gave them a shot and you can see my humble efforts here-

You are the master and I bow to your skill- I did learn a lot by trying this and I will try again, sometime…

December 19, 2011 08:11 AM
Lizzie Oakley said...

I’m baking these today… I made the dough yesterday and let it sit and now they are baking… the smell AMAZING! I ‘accidently’ broke a cookie and tasted it and it’s hands down the best gingerbread anything I’ve tasted! And that goes for the GB lattes at the Starbucks too!

December 19, 2011 01:06 PM
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