Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gingerbread Men - a Christmas Classic

I love Gingerbread Cookies. I have always enjoyed making little gingerbread men and girls and decorating them with my kids, grandchildren, cooking classes and my preschoolers. The smiles lit up their faces as their little people came to life. What more rewarding task could there possibly be than their reactions as they hold and share their creations? Here is a basic gingerbread recipe that's tasty, durable and sturdy yet soft enough to be perfect.

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c shortening, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 c molasses
  • 1 c packed brown or golden sugar
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow for easier handling.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes in preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry but will still be soft to the touch. Remove to baking sheet to cool on wire racks.
You may frost these cookies with a canned commercial icing or make your own buttercream frosting. Frost your cookies using a rolled up piece of waxed or parchment paper with a small hole on the bottom, or use a purchased icing kit to make things a bit easier. You want to create the traditional design, not necessarily frost the entire cookie (unless that's what your children prefer!)
  • small candies such as M&M's or smarties for buttons and eyes
  • cinnamon heart to say "I love you"
  • your choice of additional embellishments
  • little piped-on skirts or skirts made of cut up "jellied fruit" pieces or gumdrops for gingerbread girls or for "shoes" or "hats"
Recipe for Buttercream Frosting
Soften 1 stick of butter or margerine. Mix with approximately 2 c icing (confectioner's) sugar. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Pour in milk or cream, approximately 2 tbsp at a time, until the frosting is of spreading consistency. If too thin, add a bit more icing sugar. If too thick, add a bit more milk. Butter gives the softest consistency and best flavor.

No comments:

Post a Comment