12 Days of Cookies: Gingerbread Men Sandwich Cookies by Elizabeth LaBau

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Gingerbread cookies are a classic Christmas dessert. Somehow it just doesn’t seem like the holidays have officially arrived until I’ve put on some carols, made a cup of cocoa, and baked my first batch of gingerbread men!

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In the past I’ve kept things pretty simple—just rolled and cut out the gingerbread men, added a few red hot candies for buttons, and called it a day. But this year I wanted to move beyond my usual gingerbread routine and create a holiday cookie recipe that would dazzle all my family and friends.

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These gingerbread men sandwich cookies keep all of the best parts of classic gingerbread cookies. They have a soft texture with slightly crispy edges, and are flavored with a delicious blend of spices, including ginger, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more. They’re sandwiched around a sweet-and-salty cream filling that’s good enough to eat with a spoon. As a final touch, gleaming gold sprinkles are used as buttons, to give them a little bit of holiday sparkle.

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The secret ingredient in these cookies – and what sets them apart from other gingerbread recipes – is brown butter. Brown butter is butter that has been cooked until the milk solids start to brown. It has a nutty, toasty, almost caramelized taste, and when it’s added to the gingerbread cookie dough and the cream filling, it provides an unmistakable depth of flavor.

Brown butter may sound fancy and complicated, but it’s simple to make and will really elevate anything you bake—including these Gingerbread Men Sandwich Cookies.

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You’ll love these cookies because they have a gourmet flavor and presentation, but since they start with a baking mix, they’re surprisingly easy to make. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started!

Gingerbread Men Sandwich Cookies:

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The cookies and the frosting both start with brown butter. To make it, all you need to do is put your butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir it occasionally as it melts and starts to bubble. The browning process takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes, depending on your pan, stove, and the temperature of the butter you started with.

Toward the end of the cooking process, you’ll see the butter start to foam up and double in size—this is your cue that your brown butter is almost done! Watch carefully as it changes color, and when you start to see lots of brown pieces on the bottom of the pan, and when it gives off a nutty, caramelized scent, it’s done. Take it off the heat and let cool until it’s at room temperature, then it’s ready to go!

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The gingerbread cookie dough couldn’t be easier, because its base is a super simple (and super tasty!) gingerbread cookie mix.  Just combine the mix, brown butter, and eggs – and if you like things spicy, add a little extra ginger and cinnamon.

After mixing, the gingerbread dough should have the texture of wet sand. It doesn’t come together like a sticky cookie dough, but it should be moist enough that when you press it, it holds together easily and isn’t dry or crumbly.

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A quick chill in the refrigerator makes it easy to roll out the dough and use the handy cookie cutter (included with the gingerbread mix!) to cut out your little men. Look at those specks of brown butter and spices in the dough! It’s hard to resist nibbling on it during the rolling process, but I promise they’re even better once they’re baked.

Re-roll the scraps of dough to make more cookies, and if it gets too soft to work with, chill the dough briefly to firm it up.

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Place the cookies a few inches apart on a baking sheet. I use this gorgeous gold textured nonstick baking sheet, which is as functional as it is beautiful. I usually cover it with parchment to protect the finish, but it’s so pretty, sometimes I just can’t resist leaving it plain. Fortunately, the nonstick finish makes parchment completely optional!

The cookies only need about 8 minutes in the oven. Don’t over bake—we want these tender and soft in the middle.

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Immediately after baking, press three gold sugar pearls into the warm gingerbread men. You can technically add these before baking, but they lose a bit of their shine and their perfectly round shape when you do that. If you press them in right after they come out of the oven, they should be secure enough not to fall out later.

Since we’re making sandwich cookies, you only have to add buttons to half of the cookies, because the ones on the bottom won’t be visible.

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Once the gingerbread men are done, it’s frosting time. We’re using more of that brown butter we made earlier, to give the frosting a wonderfully toasty, rich flavor. It also has ginger and cinnamon, plus one of my favorite ingredients: Biscoff spread. The cinnamon cookie flavor of the spread goes perfectly with gingerbread cookies!

The cream filling is quite thick, because it needs to be able to stand up to the cookies and not squish out the sides. Think of the cream filling in chocolate sandwich cookies, rather than the frosting on top of a cupcake. All of the powdered sugar used to thicken the cream filling makes it fairly sweet, so I like to add a good amount of salt to cut the sweetness and give it more of a salted caramel flavor.

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You can spread the frosting between the cookies, but since we’re aiming for holiday glitz and glam, I recommend piping it instead.

Fit a piping bag with a small star tip, and pipe round stars of frosting all over the base of one of the cookies. Sprinkle some finely chopped ginger chips on the frosting, to REALLY boost the ginger flavor, then gently press a second cookie on top. Voila!

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With their shiny gold buttons and fancy piped filling, these cookies look perfectly at home at any event, from casual to classy. Serve them on this beautiful marble and gold tray, or on a table set with metallic confetti glasses and gold metallic napkins. They’re beautiful, delicious, and are sure to be the star of your next Christmas party.

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Shop the Post: Pelican Bay Gingerbread Cookie Gift Bag | Ground Ginger | Saigon Cinnamon | Ginger People Crystallized Ginger Chips | Biscoff Spread | Holiday Treat Toppers Set | Metallic Bird Napkins | Gold and Marble Tray | Metallic Confetti Glasses | Gold Snowflake Crackers

Yield:16 Servings

11 Comments

  • Bobbi Jordan

    These are beautiful and look yummy. However, this is a little out of my price range. Most of your recipes are affordable, but all of the ingredients in this recipe have to be ordered on line, and are anything but inexpensive.
    I’ve never even heard of biscoff spread or crystallized ginger chips, but I can almost guarantee that you won’t find a store in Little Rock, AR that caries those things. How about listing some substitutions.

  • Althia

    I found all the ingredients including the cookie butter at world Market!! Can’t wait to make these cookies..

  • Patricia A Schatzlein

    Elizabeth, Do you have a good recipe for your own gingerbread cookie dough? I like that these seem to hold the shape of the cookie cutter but the cost of making them (with the store bought mix) seems kind of high for how many cookies you yield.

  • Kaitlyn

    If we wants to use 1 gingerbread mix to make 12 gingerbread cookies but 6 sandwiches, would we only use one egg, one tsp of the ingredients?

  • Susie

    Since these are more formal then the usual Christmas Gingerbread Men how about adding a chocolate icing bow tie, either outlined or solid, with the top gold sugar pearl as it’s center?

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Rheza, I’ve never seen brown butter at a store so I’m not quite sure if it behaves the same way! You can use an equal amount of plain old melted butter in the frosting, but the taste won’t be the same. If you do that you’ll probably want to add other extracts or additional cinnamon to add flavor and help temper the sweetness.

    –Elizabeth

  • Althia

    Sounds great will give it a go.😊😊

  • Judy

    These are stunning, and I like the way you elevated these by piping in the filling, and adding gold-colored dragees. These would be amazing to have on Christmas Eve, while keeping watch for Santa. Excellent presentation.

  • Rheza Barbante

    Would we be able to substitute store bought brown butter instead of making our own?

    • Pattee

      Do they even sell brown butter? Never have seen it in the stores but have never really looked for it, either. Very simple to make as is just melting butter till a bit browned.

  • Donnis Bauman

    Recipe sounds great!
    Will try it for BIG party on wk.end!

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