Monday, December 19, 2011

chocolate gingerbread men with a bourbon + vanilla bean glaze

the mister and i aren't people of the traditional variety.

we got married our way, planning every step of the day and ceremony to reflect what we like and who we are, dropping some of (what we considered) the silly traditions, left and right. our house looks nothing like any of our friends houses since i frequent yard sales and thrift stores as well as anthropologie and west elm to decorate our abode.we don't decorate the house in red and green and santa figurines for the holidays, opting instead for homemade yarn pom poms, paper wreaths and funky colored gift wrap for the gifts. we adopted a 5 year old medium-sized black bear, ahem, half chow/half flat coated retriever dog from the local animal shelter (no pure bred $500 dogs for this fam!) and we are waiting ( to adopt a baby. that last one threw us for a bit of a loop but we have come to accept and embrace the fact that that is just part of our (non traditional) path.

so when the mister asked me if we could bake some gingerbread men because he was "feeling the chrismas spirit" i nearly had a small heart attack.


not, let's make some homemade ding dongs or pretzels dipped in chocolate or good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies (which always, always hit the spot)?!?

after a quick trip to trader joe's to re-stock our baking shelf, we set to work. the resulting dough is pretty firm since it gets to hang out in the fridge for a couple hours to set up before rolling. if you don't have a gingerbread man cookie cutter, feel free to roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then flatten slightly on the baking sheet. or, use the rim of a small drinking glass to make perfect little circles.

these turned out so much better than we had anticipated. i wanted a chocolate gingerbread recipe and, lucky me, i found one. i am not a huge fan of the straight gingerbread flavor so the addition of chocolate was a pleasant addition. when they came out of the oven they looked so cold and naked, so i decided i should dress them up with a  quick bourbon and vanilla bean glaze. the cookies are soft and slightly chocolate-y with ginger and cinnamon notes and that bourbon and vanilla bean flecked glaze is not only pretty but dee-licious.

chocolate gingerbread cookies recipe
by matt lewis and renalto poliafito (owners of baked bakery and author of a couple awesome baked cookbooks)

tip- when baking these,set your oven timer for 3 minutes, rotate the sheet pans and bake for another 3 minutes. check cookies and see if they look mostly "dry" on the top. you don't want to over bake these because they are best when come out pillowy and soft. make sure to let them cool 5 minutes on the sheet pan (they will continue cooking a bit) and then gently transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

bourbon and vanilla bean glaze

1/4 cup milk minus 1T
1 1/2+ cups powdered sugar
1T bourbon
1/2 vanilla bean

pour milk and bourbon into a small bowl. open the vanilla pod and scrape out the tiny little seeds, put in the milk, along with the pod itself and give a stir. let sit 15 minutes to infuse. slowly add the powdered sugar, whisking to keep it smooth and lump free.

you want the icing pretty thick (i didn't quite get mine thick enough) so you may need to add more than 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. to test the glaze, drizzle some on a plate or torn off piece of paper and let it set up for 10 minutes. if it still seems too thin, add more sugar.


  1. I love your recipes/posts! :o) I prefer my cookies (and men!) to be slightly squishy... I generally dislike gingerbread men because every recipe I've tried bakes out crunchy. How are your men? Slightly squishy or super crunchy? Also, I don't have any vanilla beans so how much vanilla should I use? I'd like to try these!

  2. yes! i have had the same issue with gingerbread cookies in the past, i don't like my cookies crisp either, i like them soft. these bake up nice and soft, not a crunch to be heard! maybe try 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract, mix and taste, add more if needed.

  3. "How are your men? Slightly squishy or super crunchy?"

    I consider myself a little of both. :)

    Mr. Brown Sugar & Bacon