I’m ending this week of cookies with those that I definitely had the most fun making. Last week, I got it into my head that I had never made gingerbread men and that all of the sudden I needed to make some ASAP. I, of course, didn’t have the right cookie cutter when I made this decision and ended up searching several stores with no luck. Why does every store only sell tiny gingerbread men cookie cutters? Half the fun of making gingerbread men is decorating and eating huge cookies! Once I get a recipe in my head, there is no waiting until next week, so I got resourceful. I ended up just printing a pattern I found online and using a small pairing knife to cut the shapes out of the dough. It was surprisingly easy and it is definitely a good trick if you ever can’t find the proper cookie cutter.
Making the gingerbread dough was just like making sugar cookie dough. The only difference is that this dough needs to sit out at room temperature for two hours before being rolled out, so prepare ahead. I also learned the hard way that these cookies stick to cookie sheets, so definitely use parchment paper! I was mainly just interested in decorating these cookies and kind of assumed I wouldn’t enjoy eating them, but I actually loved them. If you make the cookies a bit thicker, they stay soft and chewy which I preferred to the thin and crispy variety.
Decorating these guys was so much fun. I kept it simple and just used a pastry bag filled with royal icing as well as some rainbow sequin sprinkles. The royal icing hardens pretty quickly and makes the cookies taste even better. I am already dying to make these again, so I may have to make another batch soon.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday filled with cookies! I am so excited to have the next two weeks off from school. Hopefully I’ll fit in some baking, so that I have lots of delicious treats to share with you in January!
Yield: About 11 large cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours (or up to 8 hours).
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/4-1/2″ thick. Use a cookie cutter or a small knife to cut shapes and then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake ONE sheet at a time for 7 minutes for softer cookies and 9-10 minutes for crispy cookies. Allow to cool and then decorate with royal icing if desired.