Photos of all things food and drink from The Daily Meal
These homemade gingerbread men make great holiday gifts.
The Daily Meal's editors, contributors, and readers dig into some pretty great restaurants, festivals, and meals. There's not always enough time to give a full review of a restaurant or describe in depth why a place, its food, and the people who prepare it are noteworthy, so Snackshot of the Day does what photographs do best, rely on the image to do most of the talking.
Today's Snackshot is of gingerbread men from contributor Emily Jacobs. She says, "To decorate these little guys, be creative and visit the candy shop to get a variety of different candies. I used mini M&M’s, chocolate sprinkles, gum drops, mini chocolate chips, raisins, Red Hots, and licorice. For the icing, use store-bought or mix confectioner’s sugar with a little water until it becomes a piping consistency."
Read more about The Daily Meal's Snackshot feature. To submit a photo, email jbruce[at]thedailymeal.com, subject: "Snackshots."
Follow The Daily Meal's photo editor Jane Bruce on Twitter.
Cookie of the Day: Gingerbread People
Holiday season is cookie season! We are all about cookies this month: baking , decorating , gifting and hosting the classic cookie exchange . Today, we’re kicking off 30 days of holiday cookies, so be sure to check back every day for a new recipe! And for more inspiration and great recipes, visit our Cookie Central page.
There’s nothing like baking and decorating cookies to inspire creativity in the kitchen! Gather the whole family to make these holiday classics, which are perfect for giving as gifts. Bonus: your whole house will smell like warm winter spices.
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Colored sugars and other decorations as desired
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your finger and thumb. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the molasses. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is blended.
Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt together onto a sheet of waxed paper. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a wooden spoon until well blended.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, form into a large, smooth mound. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape into disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Using gingerbread cookie cutters 3 to 5 inches tall, cut out figures. Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough portions, then gather up the scraps and reroll them. If the scraps of dough have become sticky, refrigerate them for 10 minutes before rerolling. For best results, do not roll the same piece of dough more than twice.
Bake the gingerbread figures until lightly browned on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Dress up the cooled gingerbread figures with the royal icing, sugars and other decorations. Makes 2 to 5 dozen cookies, depending on size.
This classic gingerbread cookie recipe can be used to make cut out cookies and even small edible structures. This recipe makes soft cookies but if you prefer your cookies crunchy all you need to do is bake the cookies for a little longer. More on that in the recipe card.
- All Purpose Flour
- Spices : ground cinnamon, ginger cloves
- I also like to add ground star anise (1/4 teaspoon) and for spicier cookies you can add white pepper (1/8 teaspoon) – these spices are optional
- Baking Powder
- Unsalted Butter
- Granulated Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Molasses (unsulphured, not blackstrap)
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Zest
TIP : If if you prefer a milder taste, use 1:1 ratio of molasses to honey in the recipe. It produces milder and very tasty gingerbread. I used it to make my 3D Colosseum Cookies and Stamped Cookies (see Q&A section, scroll down). I also have a recipe for traditional Slovak Honey Cookies that are popular with children.
GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
What makes gingerbread gingerbread? Gingerbread refers to a wide range of baked goods flavored with spices like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, white pepper and star anise and sweetened with sugar, honey and molasses.
In this recipe I used medium molasses. You don’t want to use blackstrap molasses in this recipe. I like using Grandma’s Original Molasses, Unsulphured.
If you’ve never worked with molasses you’ll notice it’s of consistency of thin honey and it is also very sticky.
HOW TO MEASURE MOLASSES?
Spray with a nonstick spray or lightly oil the measuring cup and pour in the molasses. Light coating of oil makes pouring molasses an easy task.
This recipe uses ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In addition to these spice I often add ground star anise and for spicier cookies you can add white pepper. Please look in the recipe card for details.
WHAT CINNAMON DO YOU USE?
I personally love Saigon Cinnamon/Vietnamese cinnamon. It has stronger flavor, it is more fragrant and sweeter than any other cinnamon I’ve tried.
Now you can prepare dry ingredients. Into a bowl add all purpose flour, spices, baking powder and salt.
TIP : If you plan on using this dough to make a gingerbread house omit all of the baking powder in the recipe and bake the cookie for longer, until they are crunchy, golden brown around the edges.
To prepare the dough first cream room temperature butter for about 3-5 minutes, (steps 1-3). Then beat in Vanilla Extract, lemon zest and cream until well blended together, (steps 4-7). Mixture will be pale in color.
TIP : It’s best to use room temperature ingredients.
Gradually beat molasses into the butter and sugar mixture. Try not to pour molasses onto the beaters. Beat until well combined about a minute or so, (steps 1-2). Then gradually, in 2-3 additions beat in flour mixture, (steps 3-5). Gather cookie dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk. This cookie dough is soft. It will firm up once it’s refrigerated, (steps 5-8).
ROLL OUT COOKIE DOUGH
Place freshly made cookie dough on a lightly floured parchment paper. Place 2 rolling guides (1/4 inch thick) on each side. Rolling guides are great for achieving even thickness of cookie dough throughout, (steps 1-2). Lightly dust the cookie dough with flour and place another piece of parchment on the top. With a rolling pin push onto the cookie dough and start rolling it out. Making sure rolling pin sits on top of the rolling guides. Slide rolled out cookie dough onto a flat tray or a baking sheet and chill it for at least an hour and up to 8 hours/overnight.
TIP : Learn more tips and tricks about Cut Out Cookies, for example where to get rolling guides, which rolling pins I like using, creative ways to decorate cookies without icing, how to apply sprinkles and much more.
CUT OUT GINGERBREAD MEN COOKIES
Cut out gingerbread men cookies and transfer cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, (steps 1-8).
TIP : If the cookie dough is slightly sticky, dip the cutting edge of your cookie cutter into the flour, shake off excess and cut out shapes.
- For soft gingerbread cookies bake at 350F(180C) for 10-12 minutes.
- If you prefer crunchy cookies with a snap bake them for a little longer until golden around the edges, 13-15 minutes or even longer depending on the oven.
HOW LONG DO GINGERBREAD COOKIES LAST?
Gingerbread cookies will last for 4 weeks, no problem.
CAN I DECORATE THESE WITH ROYAL ICING?
Yes, you can decorate gingerbread cookies with royal icing.
HOW CAN I MAKE COOKIES SPICIER?
Use ground white pepper (1/8tsp), and increase ginger by 1/2 teaspoon.
CAN I MAKE STAMPED COOKIES?
Yes you can. To ensure your designs are visible in baked cookies, don’t use leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda in the cookie dough. Before you start stamping or using impression tools make sure dough is well chilled. Dust your impression tools with flour and shake off excess. I used this cookie dough to make these pretty stamped cookies.
IS THIS RECIPE SUITABLE FOR GINGERBREAD HOUSES?
I used this recipe to make my 3D Roman Colosseum Cookie and Small Holiday Centerpieces. Be sure to omit baking powder in the recipe if you plan on using it for a gingerbread house. Also, bake the cookies for longer, you need a firm cookie, soft cookies will not work for house and centerpieces.
CAN I ADD MINI CHOCOLATE CHIPS TO THE COOKIE DOUGH?
I’m glad you asked. Yes, you can. I’ve done so with these star gingerbread cookies and they were amazing. Gingerbread and chocolate go together well like cheese and wine. So delicious. Add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
TIP : To cut thru cookie dough made with chocolate chips it’s best to use a metal cookie cutter with a sharp cutting edge that will cut thru chocolate bits with ease.
40+ Gingerbread Crafts, Activities and Recipes
I’m sure that I have mentioned it before, but I love gingerbread. It is one of my absolute favorite things about this time of year. I look forward to baking it, smelling it, eating it and my daughter and I have fun doing arts and crafts projects inspired by it. Here are some wonderful gingerbread inspired ideas to welcome in the holiday season.
Gingerbread Puffy Paint via 123 Homeschool 4 Me
Gingerbread Slime via Growing a Jeweled Rose
Gingerbread Play Dough via Buggy & Buddy
Mosaic Gingerbread Man via The Pinterested Parent
Gingerbread Man Paper Doll via Creative Family Fun
Toilet Paper Roll Gingerbread Man via Meaningful Mama
Recycled Carton Gingerbread House via Pint Sized Treasures
Gingerbread House Envelope Craft and Printables via A Little Pinch of Perfect
Perler Bead Gingerbread House via Cupcake Cutie
Gingerbread Inspired Activities
Gingerbread House Counting via Mom Inspired Life
Gingerbread Men Number Hop via Toddler Approved
Gingerbread Adjectives via Babbling Abby
Healthy Gingerbread Ideas via KC Edventures
Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip via Food Folks and Fun
Soft Batch Gingersnap Cookies via Pint Sized Treasures
Easy Mini Gingerbread Houses via Red Ted Art
Gingerbread Christmas Tree via The Pinterested Parent
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- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tablespoons orange zest
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in the orange peel and dark corn syrup. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and salt, mixing until well combined. Chill dough for at least 2 hours, I like to chill overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are firm and lightly toasted on the edges.
Gingerbread Man Theme Day
I have been missing Mommy School. A lot. But let's be honest--Christmastime is a crazy time! I haven't found a second to spare. But I have wanted to enjoy some fun Christmas activities with Little Man. So I compromised. Instead of attempting daily activities, I decided to do weekly theme days. It's basically an all-day party!
Last week, we had an entire "Gingerbread Man" day.
You might remember that we had a similar gingerbread party last year. It's so fun to see how much more I can do with Little Man in just 1 year! We had so much fun with last year's party that we decided to make this a tradition!
Little Man loves our Christmas book advent SO much! Every morning he wakes up and runs downstairs to discover the latest Christmas book wrapped up under the tree. On this day, he woke up and found "The Gingerbread Man" story book. He wanted to read this over and over again all day long.
We ate gingerbread pancakes for breakfast. YUM!
We have a lovely felt advent calendar with a new felt ornament to hang on the tree every day. Today, Little Man found a little gingerbread man hiding in the pocket and we added him to the tree!
We also made gingerbread play dough. I used the recipe found here at Mrs. Fischer's Kinder
Little Man cut out a bunch of gingerbread men, and then made lots more gingerbread "cookies"!
He is so proud that he can cut out his own "cookies' now! (Now I can't wait to make and decorate some real sugar cookies with him!)
I used a cookie cutter to create our own gingerbread man sandwiches.
But you know what's funny? Little Man refused to eat his sandwich in this shape. I made him a plain old PB&J and he gobbled it right up. Gotta love toddlers.
After watching to be sure that the gingerbread man didn't jump out the window after being baked, he and Daddy decorated their very own gingerbread man cookie! Little Man requested red frosting, M&M's, and chocolate chips.
Our gingerbread man was quickly beheaded. Little Man requested to eat the head first!
The Secret Life Of
Join host George Duran as he examines the origins of some popular Easter sweets, explores why we eat ham on Easter and why we hunt for eggs.
Join host George Duran as he uncovers the secrets behind our favorite energy foods, that ginseng is more than just an ingredient in power bars and visits a restaurant in NYC dedicated to "pumping you up."
Host George Duran uncovers why the cake has traditionally been a symbol of celebration while he takes a look at the history of cupcakes, King Cakes, Election Cakes and more!
Host George Duran explores gingerbread. He uncovers a modern day gingerbread man recipe in Washington DC, learns the secrets to building a stellar gingerbread house and reveals the many ways one of our favorite holiday flavors is used from cocktails to soups to toothpaste!
Join Host George Duran as he takes a look at the origins of bar food from olives and porridge in Ancient Rome to America's endless varieties today: burgers, tapas, buffalo wings and more!
George Duran explores the American coffee shop. When the first coffee shop opened in America, what made these stores unique and George reveals the secret behind the tradition of the bottomless cup of Joe.
No doubt about it, we love to eat out, especially with our families. George Duran takes a look at the history of family
restaurants from the very first American eating establishments that were family owned and operated to today's
concept of family dining .
If you want to learn how to make sushi, bake a cake, or whip up exotic Asian cuisine, chances are there s a class
you can take. Join host George Duran as he takes a look at some of these crash course classes and America s largest
cooking school, and finds out how the art of cooking was passed on before the idea of classes began.
During war, soldiers have to eat, and what they eat often goes beyond mere sustenance.
Join host George Duran as he explores how the Navy feeds men on a submarine for months at a time, the quick, portable dining methods the Army uses in the field and the "secret" language the military uses to describe some common foods.
The American romance of eating outdoors started from the very beginning In fact, the first Thanksgiving was a picnic! Host George Duran takes a look at some of the interesting ways folks have picnicked through time while exploring some regional twists on the theme, like eating crawfish in New Orleans. Also, we share some tips, tricks and secrets for creating a flawless picnic of your own.
A caterer is expected to know not just how to prepare food, but how to make it taste great, look beautiful and keep it all organized. This is nothing new in fact, evidence shows that caterers have been around since the era of Ancient Greece.
Host George Duran explores the history of wedding caterers and helps pull off a "silver service" wedding, visits a Texas ranch that puts a spin on catered BBQ and uncovers some secrets to keeping your next catered party on budget.
Most of the items we buy in grocery stores and order off restaurant menus are the result of a carefully controlled, scientific operation known as the "test kitchen." George Duran explores their history and takes you inside the secret labs of Campbell's, CPK, Better Homes and Gardens and more.
Whether it's rum cakes, Bananas Foster or bourbon BBQ with a kick, distilled spirits aren't just for drinking anymore.
Join host George Duran as he journeys to one of America's earliest distilleries (owned and operated by George Washington!), uncovers the history of bourbon while learning the secrets to cooking with it and reveals the truth about hangover remedies.
Sweet Edible Gingerbread House Cement: Royal Icing
Mix up a big batch, and prevent it from crusting over by putting a wet towel over the bowl.
If you’re going to assemble more than one house, use a large disposable pastry bag. You want to have to refill as infrequently as possible.
KopyKake brand is vastly preferable to Wilton brand for disposable bags. You’ll have to order online or go to a cake decorating store to find the KopyKake brand, however. (Buy them here) It’s not available at the big craft stores. I’d choose parchment paper cones over the Wilton disposable cones. I’ve had too many of them burst at the seams.
Tip 8: Cake circles make perfect, pretty bases for small houses.
Yes, I buy them 100 at a time. We’re that serious about gingerbread. You can buy them here.
For larger houses, I cut cardboard boxes into rectangles, and cover with freezer paper, dull side out. It makes a nice, snowy white, inexpensive base. While it’s not strictly necessary to make the house on a base, it’s much sturdier, and I love having room to landscape around my gingerbread houses.
Tip 9: Especially if you’re going to make multiple houses, seriously consider an A-frame design.
Not only does it look cute and germanic, it’s also super easy to assemble!
My husband’s job, holding the first two pieces for me:
And then it stands up on its own while I assemble the rest:
If you’re going to make more elaborate designs, especially ones with four walls and a roof, assemble in stages. Adhere the walls together, and prop them in place with cans, just like Paula figured out. DON’T add the roof yet! Wait a few hours, come back, and then you can add the roof. Be sure your royal icing is nice and thick, especially if you have a steep pitch to your roof, and if possible, stack cans to reach right under the eaves, to hold the roof in place should it start to slip before the icing sets up.
Snackshot of the Day: Gingerbread Men - Recipes
 Celebrate with gingerbread cupcakes. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Pillsbury).
 Gingerbread muffins. Here’s the recipe from I Heart Eating.
It became that way, only because the spices were so costly in medieval Europe, that most people only sprang for them to celebrate Christmas.
Because the spices are…well…spicy, i.e. heat-generating, they are also called warm spices, which became associated with the colder months.
But just as you can roast a turkey in July or have ice cream in December, most recipes work year-round (with an aside, to underscore the benefits of choosing fruits and vegetables seasonally).
Ginger-spiced cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods fit right in with warm weather. Serve them with ice cream or frozen yogurt, iced coffee or iced tea.
Or make muffins, scones, even gingerbread waffles. The recipes are below.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GINGER COOKIES
THE HISTORY OF GINGER
What we call ginger (Zingiber officinale), is the root of the ginger plant. It likely originated in the tropical lowland forests of the Indian subcontinent and southern Asia.
It has been cultivated for 5,000 years, made into a tonic to treat ailments*, as well as a spice for food. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius celebrated its healing powers.
Since ancient times, the Chinese and Indians used ginger root as medicine. Ginger originated in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia.
By the first century, traders had brought it to the Mediterranean via India. It became popular in the Roman Empire, where it was a symbol of wealth. The fresh roots were dried or preserved for the long voyage.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 C.E., ginger and other imported spices fell by the wayside during the Dark Ages. It returned with the resurgence of trade in medieval Europe. It was commonly used to make baked goods and sweets but again, you needed the bucks. In the 14th century a pound of ginger cost as much as a sheep!
Still used medicinally in medieval times, ginger became a popular holiday spice (it was too pricey to use year-round), most famously in gingerbread cookies. In 11th century northern European countries, it was used to flavor buttermilk drinks and over the next two centuries became used in cooking meats and in ginger pastes.
Ginger and other spices were brought back to Europe by Crusaders who traveled to the Holy Land. In 11th-century northern European countries, it was used to flavor buttermilk drinks and over the next two centuries became used in cooking meats and in ginger pastes.
Many ginger-flavored baked goods have evolved since then, from muffins to cakes (not to mention latte and frozen yogurt).
GINGERBREAD & GINGERBREAD-FLAVORED RECIPES
*Among other things, the volatile oils in ginger, gingerols and shogaols, help with digestion, gas and cramping relieve nausea help to reduce inflammation and fever help prevent blood clots make ginger a natural decongestant and antihistamine and may also help lower LDL cholesterol.
National Gingerbread Day | Gingerbread Jar Cake
Believe it or not, I had a very hard time getting motivated about National Gingerbread Day. I like gingerbread, don’t get me wrong, and especially when the gingerbread comes in the form of the cute gingerbread men. But, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make because last time, I made a gingerbread bread loaf that completely failed and caved in. And you know when there are so many options like do I make gingerbread cookies? Cake? Ice cream (my original thought)? Muffins? A cocktail?
In the end, a gingerbread cake it was, but it wasn’t just any ol’ cake. I put it in a JAR! ‘Cause jar desserts up the ante and automatically makes the dessert 100x better. I had some spillage over the opening of my mason jars because I got really overzealous and was all “this cake won’t overflow, no way, no how” but it totally did and I was sad for a little bit, but then I got out the whipped cream for the topping, topped the jar cakes, and licked the spoon. And it helps that the cakes were spongy and awesome and reminded me of pine cones except not the taste, just the season. I don’t know what’s happening.
Anyway, coming to a conclusion about what gingerbread item to make was bad enough, but then I got behind and didn’t make the recipe in time for the food holiday. This post may be appearing on November 21st, but it’s actually December 2nd as I type this and I completely fought for my right to backdate the post so really I’m trying to fool you into thinking that I am on top of my game when really, I’m losing my mind being so close to the end of this cooking challenge.
When I was editing these photos, I saw a folder in my iPhoto named ‘Gingerbread’. It was my second attempt at the gingerbread bread loaf that I botched before. According to my rules, I could’ve just failed once and then used the winning second attempt for the second National Gingerbread Day (you know, to show progress, y’all). Turns out, I got pretty annoyed that I had photos ready to go for a gingerbread recipe, but had forgotten about it, argh.
Anyway, enjoy! At least having a fail and a success story means I’m growing, right??