In 1986, I did a shoot for Harper’s Bazaar on wearable art. One of the pieces happened to be this jacket featuring art by my friend Kieth Haring. It turned out to be a prophetic fashion shoot.
Julie Anne Rhodes in Haper's Bazaar

Julie Anne Rhodes in Haper’s Bazaar

It was my first clue that I was pregnant with Tatjana when the photographer, Albert Watson, reminded me “we’re shooting Harper’s Bazaar, not Playboy” in his cheeky Scotish way. None of the clothes would close over my suddenly enormous cleavage, so what better piece of apparel could they possibly have adorned my body with?
Tatjana Rhodes with Gingerbread house past

Tatjana Rhodes with Gingerbread house past

One of Tatjana’s and my favorite holiday traditions has always been baking and making gingerbread houses together.
Tatjana Rhodes decorating Keith Haring style

Tatjana Rhodes decorating Keith Haring style

This year we decided… why not honor a dear friend and create something a little more interesting, so we decided to make Keith Haring gingerbread cookies instead.
Keith's baby and ours

Keith’s baby and ours

Since this project began with that old modeling pic, we decided to start with the gingerbread baby…
Keith's dog and ours

Keith’s dog and ours

… then my impish pup, Daisy (begging for dough) inspired the gingerbread dog, and…
Keith's angel and ours

Keith’s angel and ours

… the gingerbread angel would be in honor of Keith who left us all way too young, but will always be remembered with deep affection.
Julie Anne Rhodes & Keith Haring

Julie Anne Rhodes & Keith Haring

He would definitely approve of a mother and daughter having some holiday fun together, and I’d like to think he’s grinning from ear to ear over being remembered like this.
Keith Haring Gingerbread Art
Servings: 12

  • parchment paper for tracing and cutting guide
  • images you would like to make in gingerbread
  • all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound powdered sugar


1).Tatjana suggested she find some images online that I would then trace onto parchment paper for a cookie cutting guides in the dough.

2). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour through allspice together in a large mixing bowl.

3). Melt brown sugar, vegetable shortening (or butter), and Karo syrup together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until combined. Then add to dry ingredients while still warm, using a mixer with dough hook, stir until just incorporated. The dough will be crumbly, but will come together as you roll it out still warm.

4). Dust the counter with flour to prevent dough sticking to it. The dough must still be warm as you roll it out. If it cools too quickly place it into a warm oven for 2-3 minutes to soften, then gently roll it out to an even 1/8″ thickness. Place parchment stencil over dough, and cut around edges carefully with a paring knife. Carefully transfer gingerbread shapes to a nonstick baking sheet.

5). Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes, until dark golden brown all over. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes, then carefully loosen edges using a spatula to place onto cooling racks to cool completely.

6). While gingerbread is cooling, mix royal icing ingredients together in a mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Start slowly, so powdered sugar does not fly out everywhere, and gradually increase speed to medium-high. Beat for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Add a little more water to loosen consistency, or add a little more powdered sugar to stiffen until you have the desired consistency.

7). Fill a pastry bag fitted with the desired tip, and decorate gingerbread to match your original print outs from online.
This post was first published December 14, 2009
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  • December 15, 2009
    4:28 am

    Delicious tribute!!

  • December 15, 2009
    6:09 am

    I absolutly love the cookies,what a great idea you two are simply "Ab-Fab" Yvonne Wiesengrund

  • December 15, 2009
    5:46 pm

    Brilliant idea!!! I love them!

  • December 15, 2009
    6:04 pm

    What a lovely idea… these cookies are fantastic designs!Rest in Peace, Keith… you still inspire!Jennifer

  • December 15, 2009
    6:51 pm

    This is just so beautiful Julie – what a wonderful tradition you started!Megan Myers Nikolai

  • December 15, 2009
    6:54 pm

    Ditto!!!Alfredo Lemos Suarez

  • December 15, 2009
    7:16 pm

    awesome keith haring cookies!!Ellannah Sadkin

  • December 15, 2009
    9:53 pm

    I love gingerbread & I love making gingerbread Christmas trees with star cutters.They are so much fun. I have not made the houses as they seem too tricky, however they look fantastic. Love the tribute to Keith Haring. What a brilliant artistic approach to gingerbread baking. Well done.From one artistic baker to another…..Happy Gingerbread Baking!Aussie Mum

  • December 16, 2009
    12:08 am

    What a great idea to pay tribute to your friend, so cool and unusual, extremely imaginative on your part! Andy Warhol cakes next!Laura Dodd-Hodges

  • December 16, 2009
    5:27 am

    What amazing cookies!!!! Tatjana and you are just are artistic as Kieth!!! Thanks for the great recipe too…

  • December 16, 2009
    7:38 pm

    So wonderful! I love it!!!Alison

  • December 17, 2009
    12:55 am

    Brilliant idea!!! I love them! Work from home India

  • December 17, 2009
    8:09 am

    I remember when Keith painted the studio while Nick and Simon were MTV 'guest VJs'. I feel so old just now ;)A wonderful tribute to a wondeful and adorable man! I wear my Keith wrist watch when I'm having 'a morning' – it always turns my mood around.

  • December 17, 2009
    8:16 am

    Thank you to all of you. It was definitely a project close to my heart. Keith is well known for having been a great artisit, but more imprtantly he was a great man… he played knight in shining aromour to my damsel in distress on more than one occasion. Dear man. I often imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with him today.