In our family, we have a holiday tradition of making “Cookie Guys” to hang on the Christmas Tree. “Cookie Guys” are what our grandbuddies call them. They are made from a cookie recipe I got from my Mother-in-Law years ago. Originally, they were known as “Pepper Cookies.” (Don’t let the pepper scare you – there’s only 1/4 teaspoon in the entire batch!) Besides pepper, it also has cinnamon, cloves and ginger in the dough, so they are a delicious spicy cookie. She used to cut them out diagonally in diamond shapes. I make them using a Gingerbread Cookie Cutter and decorate them with Royal Icing, Each little “Cookie Guy” has his own personality and the kids are always so proud of their own decorating skills.
A couple of years ago, we had a mysterious “Cookie Guy” eater who would take bites out of each of the low hanging cookies! Wouldn’t you know, we caught the 2-year old culprit in the act! (He enjoyed every bite!)
Over time, the flavor of the spices intensifies so they are still really yummy and crispy even after a couple of weeks. (We love to eat them when we’re taking down the tree at the end of the Christmas Season.) If you want to make the cookies just for eating, they are great to make a couple of weeks ahead and keep in a brown paper bag. They are thin and crispy and absolutely addicting!
The recipe is unlike any other cookie recipe I have made. The liquid ingredients are brought to a boil, cooled and added to the dry ingredients.
Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
Into a sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, dark corn syrup and white vinegar.
Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
When cool, stir in a beaten egg.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
The dough will be stiff. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Divide dough into 4 parts. (Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator to keep it chilled while you are rolling out one of the parts.) On a floured surface, and with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick.
Cut out your desired shapes.
I like to use a metal spatula to move the Cookie Guys to the parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375° for 5-7 minutes or until they are golden on the edges.
If you want to hang them on the tree, here’s a little trick. After they are baked and while they are still hot on the pan, use a drinking straw to cut out the hole. The straw works like a miniature cookie cutter! (If you use the straw to punch the hole before baking, it can sometimes close up as they bake.)
Cool the cookies on a wire rack. They get crispy as they cool.
Icing to Decorate:
If you are planning to hang these on the tree, the best icing to use is a Royal Icing. It hardens nicely so that it doesn’t come off or stay sticky. It is made with powdered sugar, water and Meringue Powder. Just follow the instructions on the can. It can be found in stores with cake decorating supplies or on Amazon.com.
(Do not double this recipe – if you need more, make another batch)
½ c. butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. dark corn syrup
1 ½ t. white vinegar
In saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Bing just to boiling and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, then add:
1 egg, beaten
While corn syrup mixture is cooling, combine the following dry ingredients into a separate bowl:
2 ¼ c. flour
½ t. baking soda
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. black pepper
Pour corn syrup mixture with dry ingredients. (Dough will be stiff.) Put in Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least one hour – or overnight.
Divide dough into 4 portions. Keep dough chilled until ready to roll out. Roll out very thin on a floured surface (about 1/8” thick.) Cut into desired shapes. Or cut diagonally (diamond shapes) with a squiggly edge Pastry Wheel Cutter.
Bake at 375° about 5-7 minutes until the edges are just barely turning golden. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan, then remove to a wire rack. The cookies will get crispy as they cool.
Now, decorate your tree with these cute Cookie Guys!