There are so many decorating possibilities when it comes to gingerbread men. I’ve demonstrated a very easy technique here (just resealable bags of white icing and black icing with the corners snipped), but really just be creative. Decorating cookies, especially with the little ones, is really more about having fun than anything else.
That said, it used to frustrate me when we would place beautifully shaped cookies into the oven and get blobs back out. Here are a few tips so that you can have perfect shapes to decorate:
Dough thickness – it doesn’t matter if you mix it yourself or use the stick from the dairy case, the key is to roll out your dough so that you have a consistent thickness across your cookies so that they cook evenly.
Cookie size – make sure all of your cookies are approximately the same size or your little ones might burn and your big ones will be gummy.
Dough temperature – it is critical that you slide your baking sheet into the frig for 10 minutes before baking the cookies. The dough needs to be cold to hold its shape; the process of rolling and our hands warms it up.
Don’t overcook – it is so easy to peek at a sugar cookie and think it isn’t done. Don’t guess, time your cookies, and once the oven and pan are warm, you might want to cook later batches even less. My rule, take them out before they brown at the edges, usually 7 minutes.
Cooling racks – many people don’t use cooling racks… I highly advise that you do. Cookies will continue to cook on the pan and you don’t want hard and flaky cookies!