This year instead of slaving over a gingerbread house we made gingerbread people dress up cookies. It was fun, easy and I could let the kids eat one (or two) straight away without the stress of breaking up the whole house.
I baked up a big batch of gingerbread men and women (Cookie recipe here).
Then I quickly cut out some fondant clothes using the cookie cutter and the kids got to stick them onto the cookies with royal icing like a dress up toy.
I made sure there were stacks of clothes with different colors and accessories for the kids to choose from. Kids are amazing and see the world differently. I think it might be lovely to see the world with flower eyes :)
Oh my goodness my kids truly love this type of cookie decorating, just love it!
The Destroyer (being a creator), Bubble and I, Sweet and Bubble
Plus perfect for Christmas, well actually my kids want me to say it's perfect for any time ;)
The hardest part of all of this was coming up with a ginger cookie recipe that didn't spread too much (otherwise the fondant clothes would be too small for the cookies). But I spent 2 weeks testing my own recipe so y'all don't have to worry about that, just click on the link in the instructions below.
I made some little mini lollipops and candy canes as well, the kids thought they were super cool.
Note - I have in the past made similar dress up cookies for my daughter's birthday party - but these gingerbread ones are way, way, way easier - trust me. You can check out the original 'paper doll dress up cookie' inspiration HERE:
These are the original dress up doll cookies I made CLICK HERE to see details
Gingerbread people dress up cookies
Make the fondant/sugar clothes as per the instructions below. Once the clothes have set and become hard enough to pick up you can let the kids decorate the cookies by squeezing royal icing onto the cookie and sticking the clothes in place. They can also add gingerbread faces and other decorations as they like.
EDIT update: I've recorded an easy to follow youtube video tutorial here as well:
Gingerbread men and women cookies (Click here for Gingerbread cookie recipe)
Gingerbread men and women cookie cutters
Fondant various colours
small rolling pin
frilling tool (can use toothpick instead)
Royal Icing (for final assembly)
Line a tray with parchment/ baking paper.
Gingerbread men fondant/sugar clothes
Roll out the fondant onto a workbench dusted with cornflour (cornstarch). Use the gingerbread man cutter to cut out shape and then the sharp knife to cut out the top and shorts (see picture below). If you like you can adhere shapes like a star onto the fondant cut outs. Place cut outs onto the tray lined with paper to dry overnight.
For striped shirt, cut out thin strips of fondant and press onto a contrasting color fondant with the rolling pin, then cut out shapes with cutter as described above. I added a thin strip of vertical fondant on the sleeve edge.
Gingerbread women fondant/ sugar clothes
Roll out the fondant onto a workbench dusted with cornflour (cornstarch). Use the gingerbread woman cutter to cut out shape and then the sharp knife to cut out the top and skirts (see picture below). Place clothes on paper lined tray to dry.
If you like you can make the skirts and edge of the top ruffled by using the frilling tool, press down on the fondant and gently roll back and forth. I also added a thin strip of contrasting color fondant to the sleeve edge of some tops before pressing down with the fondant tool.
You can also cut a second strip to make a 'pettiskirt' underneath, just use the frilling tool to roll back and forth and then stick it underneath the top skirt, you might need to add a small amount of water to adhere the 2 skirts together.
To make a lace pattern on the edge use the sharp edge of the frilling tool (or a toothpick) to dot holes (see picture below for example).
To make a lollipop you will need fondant in 4 different colours and a small length of spaghetti. Roll each colour of fondant into a long thin strip and the twist the fondant together. Starting in the middle wrap the twisted fondant around in a spiral to look like a lollipop. Push the spaghetti into the fondant lollipop disk.
The example in this picture only uses 2 colours and is bigger but same concept
Small flowers pressed out of fondant make great accessories, I used a small ejector cutter.
Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.
Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission.