Emma's Gingerbread Men

"And I had but one penny in the world, thou should'st have it to buy gingerbread"--William Shakespeare

I've always had a thing for gingerbread men. Maybe it's because it's so fun to decide which part to eat first--the head to put him out of his misery? A foot to prolong the agony? A left arm?

Emma makes gingerbread men for a Christmas party in Emma: A Latter-day Tale, so I wanted to share my mom's recipe for gingerbread people. It's made with molasses and honey for those who don't like a heavy molasses taste. If you like the molasses taste, go ahead and substitute molasses for the honey. My mom adapted this recipe from one she got years ago in Colonial Williamsburg. Here it is:


Mix together the following in a large bowl:
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses 
3/4 cup honey
2/3 cup water

Mix together in a medium-size bowl :
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
7 cups flour

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

Heat oven to 350.  Roll dough 1/3 inch thick on floured surface.  Cut with floured cookie cutters.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  


  1. I like gingerbread too, so I'm excited to try this. And I'm chuckling at your 'prolong the agony' comment. I think I always go for the head first, unless it has candy eyes or something like that. Always have to save the best bite for last.


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