In the Cookie Jar

In the Cookie Jar: Gingerbread Cookies

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

1 egg

First, sift together the first 8 ingredients

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Next, cream together the butter

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and the brown sugar

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until light and fluffy.

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Next, add in the egg(s)

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and molasses

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to combine.  And then, with your mixer on the slowest speed, add the flour mixture and combine.

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Scrape this out onto a lightly floured board and shape into a ball (or something like a ball).

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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.)

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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.

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Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

Let cool on a rack, and then decorate with royal icing or whatever kind of frosting you like.

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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.

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