I am not sure if we are more excited to share this months book study theme… The Gingerbread Man or our cookie recipe (they turned out SO good)!
Our holiday traditions have evolved over the years and now that my son is an avid reader we doing more book studies so this month we are re-reading the original version of The Gingerbread Man and doing a Gingerbread Man first grade book study. JOIN US! If you don’t already have plans.
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This type of informal book study lends itself to basically every 1st Grade CCSS Reading strand for Literature (if you care about that stuff) which means you can zoom in on one or two tricky ones for your child. I selected the Compare & Contrast skill & Key Ideas & Details. There are many different versions of the traditional tale like some Gingerbread Man spin offs are… The Ninjabread Man, the Gingerbread Cowboy, The Gingerbread Girl, The Gingerbread Boy, The Gingerbread Baby and some of them are really funny! We are noticing details comparing and contrasting the different versions and we’re going to bake & decorate gingerbread cookies at the end of our study.
Here are some of our favorite titles…
Traditional Story Versions:
Here are 3 traditional favorites…
1: The Gingerbread Man by Gail Yerrill
2: The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
3: The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt
Ninja: The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh and Christ Gall- A ninja twist of the classic version. Buy the Ninja shaped cookie cutters if you want to bake Ninjabread men or just re-shape the regular cut outs into ninja poses.
Boy: The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone- Can the Gingerbread Boy outsmart that fox?
Girl: The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst- The girl version of The Gingerbread Man. In this version the Gingerbread Girl has a plan on how to outsmart the fox at the end. I can’t wait to find out if it works or not!
Baby: The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett- The baby version written and illustrated by Jan Brett. Brett is one of my favorite author/ illustrators because sheincorporates SO much detail into her illustrations and most books have a “preview” of what’s to come for the most observant of children.
Cowboy: The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires- a really cute cowboy version of the original. Before reading discuss who the last character will be (usually the fox) since foxes do not live in the desert AND if they think that character will eat the gingerbread man!
The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka – is a compilation of alternative fairy tales and a spoof on classic children’s books that (I think) is intended for older children. The stinky cheese man is one of many stories and I don’t think the language is appropriate for preschoolers or Kindergarteners, however Jon Scieszka is a great author and is popular among older children who enjoy hearing a version of the gingerbread man that is different from all of the rest.
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
If you want to make your own batch of cookies try this amazing recipe. Don’t forget to keep your oven door shut so your cookies don’t run away! ;o)
Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Electric Mixer or stiff wire whisk
- Rolling Pin
- Cutting Board or large clean space for rolling out dough
- 3 cups flour All purpose will get you more traditional results but feel free to experiment. GF-Most gluten free flours will be too dry. Try making your own coconut flour by ginding unsweetened coconut flakes into a flour using a food processor or magic bullet.
- 2 tsp. ginger, ground
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Royal Icing see recipes below
- Decorations rasins, cashews, sprinkles, candies, etc.
- Add dry ingredients to a bowl, mix well & set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar (mix until fluffy and well incorporated).
- Add remaining wet ingredients… molasses, egg, and vanilla & mix well.
- Gradually beat in the dry mixture to the wet mixture, one cup at a time.
- Press dough into a disc and refridgerate 4 hours or overnight (recommended).
- PREHEAT Oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut using cookie cutters. Place on inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350.
- Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.
- Decorate and enjoy!
I cannot stand store-bought icing. It is so sweet and over processed it makes my nose burn, like when you’re a kid and you get water up your nose…so we always make our own!
There are a few different varriations of royal icing. You can make it with:
- egg whites
- or egg replacer
- you can use a whisk
- or hand mixer
We made ours without a hand mixer & fresh egg whites because I knew we were going to gobble them up or share them within 2 days. The egg white base icing doesn’t keep. If you are bringing homemade frosting somewhere or making it ahead it’s best to use the egg replacer recipe. This also firms up much faster and you can do detail or write with it (if you use a bag & tips or cut a small hole in one corner of the ziplock).
Vanilla Royal Icing (egg white, no mixer)
- 1 medium egg white
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp water, optional *May be needed. Give it a minute of stiring before yopu add water. If the mixture gets clumpy add 1tsp of water to mixgture and stir, addning more (1tsp at a time) as necessary.
- food coloring, optional
- Separate egg white into a bowl
- Add confectioners sugar & stir until well incorporated, add water if necessary for desired consistency. We used our to "glaze" the gingerbread.
- Mix in vanilla extract.
- Separate into small bowls (add food coloring if desired) & place over a table cloth for kids to use to decorate & easy clean up!Small plates make it easy to decorate one cookie at a time with less mess.
Vanilla Royal Icing (egg free, no mixer)
- 2 tsp No egg, egg replacer (powder)
- 2½ tbsp water
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place powdered egg replacer to bowl with water. * IF adding vanilla extract omit 1 tsp of water. Mix until it looks like a watery/ runny egg white.
- Add in powdered sugar & gently mix until well incorporated (do not add water until its all the way mixed).
- add vanilla exract, if desired. This will affect consistency. If you did not omit some of the water you can add vanilla powder or use vanilla bean instead.
- Once the icing is fully mixed then you may splash in a litte water (dip your fingers in a bowl of water) if you want to thin it out a bit.
- separate some of the icing