The recipes I most often share are firm family favourites that I’ve been refining over a number of years. So when I get inspired to create a new recipe that I want to blog now rather than in 5 years time, I end up obsessively testing it again and again over the course of a week or so to play catch up with the tweaks and refinements.
This week, the obsession has been these little guys…
When Amy mentioned gingerbread under my waffles post, it reminded me that I hadn’t made gingerbread men in years. I decided it was high time I dusted off my old recipe notes and gave them another whirl.
So far this week, I’ve made 72 gingerbread men! Family and friends have kindly been helping me out with the testing. Lil’ L’s taken them to school, Mark’s taken them to work, and I’ve shared them with friends over coffee (not the classiest of cookies but hey it made them smile).
All the batches got great feedback, but Mark thought they could be a bit ‘gingerier’ so the next batch had an extra ½ tsp of ginger. I’ve tested different thicknesses (the thicker men were the winners), different sugars and different oils/butters. All worked fine, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty adaptable. I also tested different cooking times and I personally preferred the longer time as it made them firmer and crunchier round the edges.
Readers have also had great success using gluten-free flour to make these gingerbread men. Check out the Comments section below to see their feedback.
Even though I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of gingerbread men this week, I’m still totally in love them and will be happily munching my way through more this weekend. Fortunately, as cookies go, these are pretty healthy as they’re wholegrain, plus they’ve got an extra boost of iron from the molasses. As well as coffee, they’re delicious with a cup of ginger tea. This has got to be the ultimate winter warmer. I can literally feel myself warming up from the inside out as I sip a cup ♥
Makes about 18 cookies (depending on cutter size)
Hands on time: 20 minutes Chilling time: 1 hour (can be left up to 2 days)
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes Ready in: 1 hour 35 minutes
100g / ½ cup organic rapeseed (canola) oil, dairy-free spread or aroma-free coconut butter
85g / ½ cup soft brown sugar or coconut sugar
4 TBSP molasses (black treacle or blackstrap)
2 TBSP non dairy milk
280g / 2 cups fine wholemeal (whole wheat pastry) or chapatti flour (see Comments section below for reader feedback on gluten-free options)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp salt
1½ – 2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Place the oil/spread/butter in a pan with the sugar, molasses and milk. Gently heat over a low heat. As it warms, whisk to combine.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. Give it a mix to make sure it is combined. Pour in the contents of the pan and stir until it comes together to form a dough. This will take some elbow grease as it’s a stiff dough. (If you’re using coconut butter, you may need to add 1-2 TBSP more milk to form a smooth non crumbly dough).
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and chill for 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for up to 2 days but, if left for more than 1 hour, remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
Place the dough on a silicone mat or lightly floured work surface. Place a sheet of non stick baking paper on top and roll to a thickness of ½ cm (just under ¼ inch). Press out the dough using a metal cookie cutter and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Combine the dough scraps into a ball and roll out again. Repeat until all the dough is used.
Place in the oven and bake for 10-14 minutes. (I check mine after 10 minutes and then bake for another 2-4 minutes as I like mine firmer and crunchier). Leave to cool and firm up for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool. The cookies will last about a week in an airtight container, or for weeks in the freezer. If freezing, place in a single layer in a freezer bag. Press out all the air before tying or zip locking.
Freshly baked, these gingerbread men are crispy round the edges with a soft centre. Over time, they become softer and chewier, but delicious nonetheless.
If you try the recipe and make any adjustments, do let me know. I always love to hear your feedback!
19 thoughts on “Gingerbread Men (Dairy-free / Vegan)”
Ohhh Sharon these look perfect!! All the testing has definitely paid off- they look awesome!! Nothing wrong with an army of gingerbread men 😉 I love pukka tea, too, sounds like a winning pairing!
I test a bajillion times too! As of right now I have about 3 million valentines cookies in the fridge….
So glad to hear that I’m not the only one that recipe tests a million times over! A week later and we’re still working our way through the gingerbread men. I’m sure they’re multiplying lol! STILL enjoying them though and that’s the main thing 😀
Really looking forward to seeing those valentines cookies 😉
72 gingerbread men! You made enough to populate a town 😉 They look gorgeous though and beautifully decorated too. I imagine the mix of brown sugar plus molasses makes all the difference.
I think I could almost feed a town with the amount I’ve made lately! I need to make even more at the weekend to test them with GF flours. Good thing we’re not sick of them yet 😉
p.s. I’m guessing you’ll be out for a long run this weekend. Me too! I’ll be thinking of you xx
And I shall think of your 😀 Happy running! We’ll both need monster bowls of oats when we return 😉
They look super yummy! 😉
Thanks Rika ♥
Hope you have a fab weekend! xx
hehe i haven’t made gingerbread men in years either! I think I might have to give it a go because they look like the perfect treat to accompany a cuppa! 🙂
They’re the perfect accompaniment for a cuppa ♥ Plus if you frost them, their cheeky little faces are bound to make you smile 😀
I know you don’t tend to use oils, but I was wondering whether you use coconut butter? From what I understand, it’s pretty much squished coconut so I’m wondering if it’s technically a ‘whole food’?
hehe love the little face idea 🙂
We don’t tend to use coconut, too much saturated fat and we’re doing ultra low fat atm, that’s the reason we avoid oils too. Might try with applesauce, that’s what we usually replace oils with – usually works, just a bit more sticky than using butter replacers that’s all 🙂
Awesome! I love gingerbread men – let me know if they work out with the GF flour – they should do!
Don’t they look fantastic all lined up on the cooling tray!
Just wanted to let you know I tried making these with a gluten free flour blend and they turned out great! They are a little bit delicate so you have to be careful when cutting them and moving them onto the baking tray, and they are fragile when cooked too. I used Dove’s Farm (a UK brand). I also used a mixture of 2 tbsp molasses and 2 tbsp golden syrup instead of just molasses as I found using just molasses a little bit overpowering. My kids (5 and 1) love these too. We have multiple food allergies so finding treats for them is tricky! We also took them to a party and all the kids loved them.
Hi Zoe. I’m thrilled to hear that they worked out for you with GF flour and that they were a hit with the kids 😀 Thank you so much for stopping by to let me know. Really appreciate your feedback about the molasses too.
Here’s wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas and New Year xx
Hi! I made these today for our annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Party and I thought at first they weren’t going to work. I let the dough sit on the counter to warm up for while as when I took them out of the fridge the dough was rock hard. Even after waiting a while, it still wasn’t soft enough to roll and the dough was dry and crumbling apart.
So I decided to crumble it all up in a bowl and add a few tablespoons of soy milk. I used my electric hand mixer and it worked beautifully! The dough came together nicely and rolled out perfectly. After they were baked we did a taste test (I had also made a non-vegan recipe that used one egg) and we all agreed that your recipe was the better tasting!!! I’m glad I didn’t give up on the dough.
Hi Eve-Lyn. Oh I am so pleased that the gingerbread worked out for you in the end. And I’m thrilled to hear that it beat the non-vegan version. Hurray! I’m very sorry that you initially had trouble with the dough. I’ll make a batch again this week and check the ingredient quantities.
Merry Christmas to you too ❤️ xx
My son and I made these with olive oil and they were really yummy, great recipe thanks😀 (Admirers in England)
Hey Jenny! I’m so pleased that you & your son enjoyed the gingerbread men! And thank you so much for stopping by the blog to let me know. Means a lot to me 😀 I would never have thought of using olive oil before. I’ll definitely give that a try next time I make them xx
Hi Sharon, my 4 year old daughter made these for her school class last night as she was Maker Baker and was determined to make gingerbread men! We have a couple in the class with dairy and gluten intolerances, so successfully baked a batch based on your recipe with dairy & gluten free sunflower spread, gluten free rice flour, gluten free baking powder and soya milk. We also swapped some of the dark treacle for golden syrup as Zoe had recommended. We dusted them off with icing sugar and piped on the eyes, mouth and button with a mix of icing sugar, soya milk and dairy & gluten free sunflower spread. We doubled up on all of your ingredients and could make about 25 gingerbread men that were about half cm thick and 10cm tall. We baked two to begin with to experiment with baking times, one for 10 min and the other for 14 min, in the end we agreed that crunchier is better so opted for 14 minutes for the rest. I think they came out great, we’ll see what the children in the class think! Next time perhaps I would add a little less cinnamon and nutmeg and perhaps try a different type of brown sugar, one with a sweeter flavour. Thanks for sharing your lovely recipe with the world!
Hi Mark. What a kind, thoughtful daughter you have! I’m so pleased to hear that the gingerbread men turned out well for her. I’m not very good at GF baking myself, so it’s always reassuring to hear when other people are able to successfully adapt my recipes. I hope the class enjoyed them!
And thank you so much for stopping by to give your detailed feedback. I truly appreciate it.
Here’s wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas xx