Throw a fun and festive Gingerbread Man Decorating Party this holiday season! Here, we bring you recipes, tips, and everything you need for a great event. This post is brought to you in collaboration with Simply Organic.
My first holiday Gingerbread Man Decorating Party was hosted entirely on accident.
My mom was coming to stay with me in Portland for the holidays. She had been living in Hawaii, where my dad was stationed, for a few years. We also hadn’t celebrated a holiday together in a long time, so I tried to do as many festive things with her as I could. Since my dad wasn’t home, she stayed with me a few weeks so she wouldn’t be alone for the holidays. We celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
My mom is actually the best. She’s funny, kind, sweet, and loves to have fun. She loves all the same TV shows and movies as I do. She loves traveling and adventures and trying new things. She happily goes with me to painting classes, yoga on the beach, super-fancy trendy restaurants, and to rock concerts. I adore her and I just love hanging out with her. I don’t care if it’s uncool to love hanging out with your mom. I’d 100% take drinking wine and having a Stranger Things marathon with my mom than doing most “cool” things!
So, back to the Gingerbread Man Decorating Party. My mom and I wanted to bake and decorate gingerbread cookies one night when she was visiting. We got some wine and snacks and I baked a huge batch of cookies with royal icing in every color you could imagine. We put on some Christmas music and got to decorating. Just as we started, my friend (who also lived in the same building as me) texted me to ask what I was doing. I told her we were decorating Gingerbread Men. “That sounds fun,” she texted back. “Can I come?”
So then it was three. And before long, my husband came home from work and joined the fun. And then there was a knock at the door from my other neighbors, who wanted to ask me a question but ended up coming in for decorating fun. Before the end of the night, there was about 8 of us, so it was a good thing I made so many cookies. We had so much fun and everyone really got into their decorating. Most of them had never even met each other before, but it didn’t matter. Cookies bring everyone together.
Since then, I host a little Gingerbread Man Decorating Party every year. Sometimes it’s a small gathering, sometimes it’s larger.
The good thing about a cookie decorating party is that it can cater to anyone. You can have a kid-friendly gingerbread party, or an adult version with some cocktails. I’ve found that adults actually love to decorate cookies. It makes them feel like a kid again. I’ve also seen men that were not into the idea of decorating gingerbread get really into it and become laser-focused on their decorating skills.
Below, I share my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe. The recipe keeps its shape perfectly, is sturdy, and bakes evenly. I also share an easy and fool-proof royal icing.
I like my gingerbread spicy, and even though gingerbread is fairly easy, I think it greatly benefits from the highest quality ingredients. That’s why I love using Simply Organic’s cinnamon, ginger, and spices.
What I love even more, though, is the Simply Organic Cook for a Change campaign. This campaign is encouraging us to cook homemade meals and teaching us how cooking can inspire social good, bring joy, and strengthen relationships. Even better, anytime someone uses the hashtag #cookforachange, Simply Organic donates one meal to the Ceres Healing Meals Program. Their goal is to provide 1,200 organic meals to critically ill patients during the holiday season.
And what an amazing goal that is. As you know, I love to volunteer in my local community and I have a charitable section on this blog as well. I also completely agree that cooking can inspire and bring people together. One of my favorite holiday memories is hosting this Gingerbread Man Decorating Party, and this year we decided to turn it into something even better! From now on, we will gift these hand-decorated Gingerbread Men to neighbors, friends, my dad’s soldiers, and my fellow volunteers.
How can you Cook for a Change, during the holidays and beyond? Find out more over at Simply Organic.
What You’ll Need for this Gingerbread Man Decorating Party:
Gingerbread Cookies and Royal Icing in a variety of colors. Get the recipes below!
Gingerbread men and women cookie cutters. You can vary the sizes.
Sprinkles for decorating. Red and green sugar, edible pearls, crushed candy canes, sugar hearts, chocolate candies, etc.
Butcher or parchment paper for covering the table/easy clean-up.
Toothpicks for clearing dried icing from pastry tips and spreading icing.
Take-home boxes for your guest’s cookies or for gifting the cookies to neighbors, relatives, or friends.
Favor bags with a seasonal Simply Organic spice and a mini Gingerbread cookie cutter.
Festive snacks and drinks.
Seasonal decor and music.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post on hosting a Holiday Gingerbread Man Decorating Party and throw one yourself! How do you cook to inspire joy and change? Let us know in the comments below.
Throw a fun and festive Gingerbread Man Decorating Party this holiday season! Here, we bring you recipes, tips, and everything you need for a great event.
For the Gingerbread Cookies:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the Royal Icing:
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Food coloring (red, green, blue, pink)
- Make the gingerbread. Using a hand or a standing electric mixer, cream together the room temperature butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg until incorporated, then add in the molasses, vanilla, and orange zest. Scrape the bottom of the bowl well.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour with the salt, all of the spices, and the baking powder and soda. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture in 3 additions. Beat until just combined, but do not over-mix. Scrape the bottom of the bowl in between additions.
- Divide the dough into two balls and cover with plastic wrap, flattening each ball into a disk. Refrigerate the dough overnight.
- Bake the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4″ thick and cut into gingerbread men. You can re-roll the scraps once or twice. Place the cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until just set around the edges but still soft in the middle, about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even baking.
- Make the icing. In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites until slightly frothy. Add in the sugar slowly until completely combined. Add in the lemon juice. Beat the royal icing on medium-high speed until the icing is thick, forms stiff peaks, and is very white, about 5-8 minutes.
- Divide the icing into bowls and color your icing. Work quickly and cover the bowl of icing in plastic wrap or a damp towel, as royal icing will dry very quickly.