Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gingerbread Men


In addition to all the awesome food, I also purchased my first set of cookie cutters at the Christmas Market. That could only mean one thing:  It was time to find a good gingerbread recipe.  This one is super easy and delicious, and the dough can be made well in advance.  This recipe makes anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.  Mine is about five inches tall, and I got 16 cookies out of the dough.

Gingerbread Men
(adapted from Joy of Baking)

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup unsulphured molasses


In a large bowl, cream the butter, egg, sugar, molasses, spices, salt and baking soda.  Add flour one cup at a time, and mix until well combined.  Turn dough onto a well floured surface.  Divide in half.  Pat each half into a round disk, and wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

After chilling the dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.  Flour a work surface and rolling pin generously.  Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick, and begin to cut your cookies.  Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets with a spatula.  Reform any remaining dough into a disk, and roll it out again to repeat the process.  When all the dough is used, do the same with the second disk.

Cookies should bake 8-10 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown around the edges.  Do not overcook!  Overcooked gingerbread is tough as bricks.  Cool cookies 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.  When completely cooled, decorate as desired.

Simple Confectioners Frosting
(makes 2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
1 tbsp milk

Optional:
food coloring, 1-2 drops of any color

Cream together ingredients with an electric mixer, and spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip, or a ziplock bag with a very small hole cut in one of the bottom corners.   Pipe frosting onto cooled gingerbread men as desired.

2 comments:

  1. i just made gingerbread men yesterday, too! instead of buying my own cookie cutter, though, i just stole the one from my parents that i used every year. after i brought some over to them to share, though, my mom presented me with a new cookie cutter which means i need to make another batch soon. it was my husband's first time ever eating gingerbread, which i found slightly ridiculous.

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  2. Honestly, I think this was MY first time eating gingerbread. My family makes Christmas candy every year...peanut butter balls, homemade almond joy bars, fudge, etc. But baking? That's a rarity in my clan.

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