The recipe I use for Gingerbread Cookies comes from a cookbook I bought years ago entitled The Complete Cookie Book, by Elizabeth Wolf Cohen. It was a Bargain Book at Barnes & Noble when I bought it, and according to their website, it’s gone. But if you find a copy kicking around somewhere, grab it. It features recipes from all over the world, and over the years I’ve tried out quite a number of the recipes and they’ve all been good.
Anyway, here we go.
You will need (for one batch):
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground white pepper (use black if you don’t have white)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
First, sift together the first 8 ingredients
Next, cream together the butter
and the brown sugar
until light and fluffy.
Next, add in the egg(s)
to combine. And then, with your mixer on the slowest speed, add the flour mixture and combine.
Scrape this out onto a lightly floured board and shape into a ball (or something like a ball).
Divide this into two or three smaller pieces, wrap in plastic and flatten somewhat. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment if you have it, or lightly grease the pans instead.
Roll out some of the dough to about a quarter inch thick on a lightly floured board, and cut out your cookies. (In this picture, my niece, Natalie, is cutting out cats and squirrels. Before that, I’d done teddy bears and pine trees.)
Arrange the cookies on your pans about an inch apart (yeah, I know, that’s not an inch in the picture. Sorry!) With a pastry brush, lightly dust any excess flour off of the cookies.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes.
Let cool on a rack, and then decorate with royal icing or whatever kind of frosting you like.
I remember when I was a kid, my mother would just use some raisins for the eyes and buttons for the coat when she made gingerbread men. That works, too. Use your imagination. I bet dried cranberries would be good, too.