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.

Grace said...

I looove the snowmen!

I actually baked a few things and gave them to my fellow nursing students this past semester. I baked the Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies just before Thanksgiving. And for a little sweet treat during our final- I baked/made my first batch of cake pops! Actually, it was more like 96 cake pops! They were a HIT!! Thanks so much Bakerella!!!

December 20, 2011 01:30 AM
anonomous said...

CUTE! just in time for christmas

December 20, 2011 06:50 PM
blanche said...

guess who loves gingerbread–he is the sweet tooth man in our house

December 20, 2011 09:26 PM
blanche said...

you are so talented we are proud

December 20, 2011 09:30 PM
amy said...

we made these the other day! fun! thank you!
how do you make the detail lines?
can i get away with using a #2 tip only for everything, or can you recommend an inexpensive tip set for a BEGINNER?
Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2011 07:56 AM
Kris said...

So funny, I attempted the snowmen last night and they came out hilariously terrible! The decorating–not the cookies themselves. My husband said the first couple looked like Jason Voorhees. I definitely think I need more practice with the piping bag. They tasted delicious though–with just frosting and sprinkles!

December 22, 2011 12:26 PM
Melanie Stone said...

love love love these. so much, in fact, that i attempted my own version:
thanks for the inspiration!

December 22, 2011 07:12 PM
Brittany said...

These cookies are adorable! I tried them myself and they didn’t turn out so cute :/ the dough was very sticky and hard to get perfect circles. I definitely respect your amazing baking skills.

December 24, 2011 11:50 PM
Kali said...

I can not believe how adorable and creative these cookies are. I love making cookies for those during the holidays. They are the most inexpensive way to leave an impression on someones heart. I can only imagine how much time these took you to make although I’m sure after a while you got used to the different designs. I just may have to borrow your idea next Christmas and be the talk of the family! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us!

December 27, 2011 05:12 PM
Pat said...

Love these. You did a good job. I want to try the recipe. Pat

December 29, 2011 08:19 PM
Ann said...

I wanted to make bride and groom cake pops for my friend that is getting married. Unfortunately i can not find black heart sprinkles. I tried to look online but nobody has it. I know wilton is selling chocolate hearts thru amazon. Could you please let me know where I can get them? Thanks in advance.

January 1, 2012 12:18 AM
Cheryl said...

Fantastic! Thanks so much for this terrific tutorial. I especially love the snowmen. Your instructions are so great, they might even almost look like yours when I am done! So excited to give these a try…

January 13, 2012 01:44 AM
dod don said...

how lame…

February 13, 2012 05:33 PM
Luna Fay said...

Hi, they are sooo sooo adorable but i want to ask you wat kind of cloves and molasses do you use?

February 18, 2012 12:16 AM
Nurul Rushdina said...

Hello,I’m from Singapore.I love the cookies.It is beautiful! I would like to learn to bake the cookies.

February 19, 2012 05:59 AM
Katie said...

this recipe looks great- is there anything you can substitute the molasses for?
Great site!

April 2, 2012 02:02 AM
jules said...

these are actually the cutest things ever!!! I MUST TRY ! these are amazing and so artistic!

April 19, 2012 12:31 AM
y6u8o said...


May 17, 2012 07:29 PM
y6u8o said...


May 17, 2012 07:29 PM
olivia kayley said...

They look delicous and the faces are sooo cute especially the snowmans bakerella is the best baking website and the cake pops are delicous I might make the halloween cupcakes because it’s nearly halloween I only watched 1 video of bakerella on youtube and I love bakerella if I could I would bake everything on this websitee and eat all of it I might have the longest comment but I do like gossiping

October 13, 2012 03:52 AM
Bobby said...

Oh my gosh! I just get SO excited to bake when i see your creations!! I know you posted these a year ago but I was looking for cookies because I just bought a great christmas-ish cookie cutter set and I wanted to make some already… Like in october! But who cares, I just like your everything! Keep up the good work :D and now i finally find a good recipe for making my own icing, thaaanks!

October 24, 2012 03:33 PM
goose said...

It’s not even any where close to Christmas yet, and I already want to get of my rump and make these!!!!

October 27, 2012 05:26 PM
Carolyn said...

i made these today and i ??? them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 13, 2012 11:41 AM
Andrea said...

We made these last year and they were a huge hit. They came out just like yours! My only suggestion is to add one more egg to the gingerbread recipe. The cookies can be baked weeks ahead of time and frozen until ready to decorate.

November 26, 2012 12:20 AM
Mary Sanavia said...

These are so cute and fun!! Aaaaaand, I LOVE the mess :D

November 29, 2012 04:36 PM
Kim S. said...

What did you use for the nose on the snowmen/women? Just piped on icing, or some sort of candy/sprinkle?

November 29, 2012 09:11 PM
Karola said...

I love this recipe, definitely my favorite gingerbread cookies. Have just made them once again (pics on my blog) and will probably do some more just before Christmas at my parents place. Thanks so so much, Bakerella!! :)

December 16, 2012 07:09 PM
M said...

Love these! Will be baking these this weekend. Perfect cookies for Santa. Thanks for sharing :))

December 21, 2012 11:03 AM
Tavette said...

These cutest ever gingermen and snowmen were posted in 2011 and I’m just finding it NOW (Feb. 2013)??? Where have I been???? Oh well – I have the post now & will definitely give this a “go” in Dec. 2013. Your post will live in eternity.

Your idea to draw out the faces first is great. AND using mostly sprinkles for the facial features is certainly a time saver. Who knew that combining 2 small hearts and a circle will make the cutest hair bow? I usually color tiny bits of frosting for everything – no more, thanks to you.

Thanks also for the wonderful photos – really inspiring to see all of them.

Tavette (S. Fla.)

February 25, 2013 04:43 PM
Cupcakegirl12 said...

So cute

March 6, 2013 09:55 PM
Twig said...

I’ve read so many great reviews on this recipe that I just had to try it! Mixed up a batch and the gingerbread dough discs are now cooling in the fridge. Only after the fact did I realize that I used unsalted butter — will this make a difference?

Thank you.

October 21, 2013 10:16 PM
Kaitlyn said...

I like the snowmen but the gingerbread heads are cute too! My kitchen looks like that too after baking.

December 2, 2013 05:15 PM
Christina B. said...

Those are so cute!!! You are amazing, and VERY creative. Thanks for all the inspiration in the kitchen!

December 9, 2013 01:54 PM
Mila Furman said...

OMG these look amazing! You are sooo super talented and patient! I would never have the patience for something like this!

December 13, 2013 02:29 PM
W. Rodriguez said...

Thank you for such an adorable idea.

December 19, 2013 08:19 PM
paula said...

they came out adorable…I’m the same way about my mess…it all starts off so organized…:)

January 13, 2014 08:35 AM
Aqiyl Aniys said...

I love it. I love how you start of with your story board.

March 21, 2014 09:49 PM
bec said...

cute and tasty!

March 25, 2014 10:18 AM
Anonymous said...


April 1, 2014 08:31 PM
ro norcia said...

These are so cute and what talent you have!! Can you tell me what you use to draw on the faces? Is this a particular brand and would it work on white chocolate coating? Thanks and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2014 09:26 PM
Deb said...

I realize that this is an old post but do you know what size cutter you used for the adorable faces? I’m thinking like a 3″ round but would like to be sure. I’m making these to give away.

December 22, 2014 01:39 AM
M said...

They are sooo cute.Would you make a printable template for the faces

December 23, 2014 01:42 PM
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