I love the smell of gingerbread. They are my favorite Christmas cookie. I can't help but eat a ton of the little guys. Sometimes I just open up the bag they are in and sniff. I know, weird, but there you go.
My mom used to make these when I was growing up, and I decided to try making some myself, just for fun. The kids think they are really cool.
First I made my gingerbread dough (I just use the recipe out of the better homes and gardens cookbook) and chilled it. Then I rolled and cut it with a 5 inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Try and find one that has longish arms, as it will make this whole thing easier.
Once it is cut, if the arm is still a little short to bend over the candy cane, just flatten it out a bit with your finger. (I should totally be a hand model, huh?)
Now, I kind of improvised here, as I'm prone to do. My mom uses a straw as a placeholder while baking, but I did not have any, so I cut some bamboo skewers and used 3 of them to make the space for the candy cane. She says the straws will curl some on the ends if you use them. Personally I was thinking that a dowel would be perfect for the job, but I didn't have one, so I made do.
I took three parts of a skewer, and pushed them down where I wanted the candy cane to be, leaving a bit of an indentation. Then I folded the arm over the skewers and pushed the end down a bit. It's easy to pinch the dough back together if there are any breaks.
One of my gingerbread men lost his arm to the pounding of the toddler. Poor guy.