Gingerbread Men

Here's a recipe for gingerbread men made just the way Abraham Lincoln liked them.

Posted in , Jan 26, 2015

Rae Katherine Eighmey's Gingerbread Men, just the way Abe Lincoln liked them

President Lincoln’s mother used to make gingerbread men for him when he was a little boy using the most common sweetener of the time—sorghum. You can usually find sorghum tucked in among the molasses, corn, and maple syrups in your local grocery store. If not, you can substitute molasses.


½ c. milk½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. sorghum syrup or light or dark molasses1 Tbsp. ground ginger
3 ⅓ c. unbleached all-purpose flour½ c. (1 stick) cold salted butter
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar 


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Pour the milk into a glass measuring cup. Add the sorghum syrup (or molasses) and stir the two together. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soada and ginger. Slice the butter into small pieces and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the milk-and-sorghum mixture and stir well with a fork or spoon. Knead until smooth.

2. To make the gingerbread men about 4 inches high, break off a piece of dough a little larger than a golf ball. Place it on the work surface and roll it lightly under your palms to form a pencil-thin rope of dough about 12 inches long. Break off a 4-inch-long piece and set aside; this will become the arms. Fold the remaining rope in half to form a narrow, upside-down V. Grasp at the folded top, pinch together 1 inch down from the top and twist, forming the head and neck. Place the arm piece across the back under the neck. Gently press to secure. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the remaining dough.

3. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Watch closely as the sorghum or molasses in the dough tends to burn quickly.

Makes 18 cookies.

Nutritional Information (serving size: 1 cookie): Calories: 170; Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 85mg; Total Carbohydrates: 26g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugars: 9g; Protein: 3g.

Don't miss Rae's inspiring story about researching her book about Abe Lincoln's culinary tastes and preferences.

Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen coverRae Katherine Eighmey is the author of Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times (Smithsonian Books, 2014).

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