Painted Gingerbread Cookies, Fun to do with Kids

How to paint gingerbread men with your kids

How to make Painted Gingerbread Men with your Kids

I really wanted to make sugar cookies with Ruby this year and let her use sprinkles, red hots and those weird silver BB-looking things to decorate them when they came out the oven.  But then I picture the mess.  Sticky red and green sprinkles and silver BB's undigested in Ruby's poop.  No thanks.  So I came up with a fun way for her to decorate cookies and still maintain my sanity.  These gingerbread men covered in white icing are the perfect substrate for a toddler's natural artistic skills.  Set out the red and green icing bowls and unleash your toddler's artistic abilities.

(Gingerbread cookie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)

Yield:  Makes 12 large gingerbread men


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package of Royal Icing Mix
  • icing bag and tip
  • red and green food coloring
  • paintbrushes


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in molasses and egg.  With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms.  Place dough on floured plastic wrap; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/8 inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed.  Cut out gingerbread men and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool completely then pipe a thin line of royal icing around the edge of the cookies.  Allow to dry for 3-5 minutes then fill in the rest of the area with icing.  Allow to dry for 24-36 hours.  Make up a batch of thin royal icing and split into two bowls.  Color one bowl red and the other green.  Use paint brushes to make designs on the cookies.


How to make painted gingerbread men with your kids