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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Frugal Holiday Cookies : Gingerbread Men

I have a couple of super-frugal holiday cookie recipes that I like to bake each year. This one is a favorite in our house -- frugal as it only uses 1/4 cup of butter and no eggs. The "no eggs" part is rather significant for my larder these days, as I'm metering out the use of my final dozen eggs.

I mentioned baking our gingerbread men on facebook on Tuesday, and was asked for the recipe. I thought it would be easier to post the recipe here, where I have more space (and I can link to the recipe for facebook readers).


Gingerbread Men

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup water
up to 3  1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (I rarely need this much flour, but add it 1 cup at a time, until dough is the right consistency for rolling out)

Cream butter and sugar.

Blend in molasses until uniform consistency. Stir in cloves, cinnamon, ginger, salt and baking soda.

Add flour 1 cup at a time, alternating with some of the water, until all water is used and dough is of good rolling texture (won't stick when rolled out on a floured surface). Chill dough for about 30 minutes.

Lightly butter baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Break dough into 2 portions. Roll out 1 portion on a floured surface, to about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into men/ladies. Place on buttered baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 8-9 minutes, depending on thickness of dough, and how crisp you like your cookies.

Repeat with other portion of dough. (You'll need to very lightly butter baking sheets between uses.)

Press all scraps together and continue rolling out/cutting until dough is used up.

Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove to rack for remaining cooling. Frost after cookies have cooled.


  1. Mmm...those sound yummy and fun! I may try these subbing out a gluten-free flour mix. Though that sure makes everything less frugal. :( But, for a special occasion it's worthwhile. :)

    1. Hi Cat,
      I hope the GF version turns out yummy!

  2. We just made gingerbread men (and women and angels and teddy bears and trees ... ) a couple of nights ago. Gingerbread is one of my favorites, although I admit I hate making cut-out cookies--the things we do for our kids! ;)

    1. Hi Kris,
      I still remember your recollection of your mom making fanciful gingerbread men and women for your teachers when you were a girl. What a wonderful gift!
      I'm not a huge fan of making cut-out cookies, either (I'm happy to eat them, though :-) ). It just takes so much more time than pan cookies or dropped ones. But for the holidays, I do like to do gingerbread ones, and some years, sugar cookies with all the frosting and sprinkles.

    2. Good grief, I don't remember telling you that. Scary memory loss! But yes, she has continued to make them through the years. Her cookie cutters are twice as big as mine and she loads them up with piped frosting and candy so my kids think hers are wayyyyy better than mine, even though the base cookie recipe is the same. :) We generally also do cut-out sugar cookies as well--not sure I'll get to it this year or not, and if I do, it will probably be during Christmas break as an "activity" (I find that Christmas vacation is more fun for all of us if I plan occasional activities like that).

  3. thanks so very much for sharing
    I am going to try this next week with gluten free flour (which of course makes mine less frugal then yours but that's all good :) )

    thanks again,

    1. You're welcome, Cathie!
      You're right, those GF flours can be expensive. Hope yours turn out super yummy!

  4. Down to your last dozen eggs. Even the ones in the freezer? I hope they have a sale on them soon for your sake.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      yep. 1 dozen left -- I used all of the frozen eggs earlier this fall. One our loacl grocery chains puts them on sale about once every 6 weeks or so, for $1.25/dozen. I'll keep checking there, as well as Walgreens ($1.29 seems to be their sale price these days).

  5. We love baking cookies! I surely will try your recipe soon! I am also not a big fan of cutting out cookies, way too much work. I guess I am a lazy cook :)
    Eggs are more expensive here: almost 1.55 usd for a dozen (1.25 euro). But I have 2 chickens and most of the year they give enough eggs for us to use in our recipes. I would like to share a link with 2 Dutch recipes we use in our family for a long time: for speculaas (wind mill cookies in English?) and kruidnootjes. We love baking those. Perhaps you would like to give them a try one day.

  6. I made these yesterday, they were delicious! The dough was lovely to work with and the shapes cut out very easily. I might put more ginger in next time for more of a "bite".

    Glad all is well with you

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I'm glad you liked the recipe. I think a little extra ginger would be nice in these -- good idea!

      Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!


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