What could be a more appropriate way to start off Sugar Rush than to introduce a gingerbread recipe.
Gingerbread is a classic Christmas flavor. I love it. But I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of thin and crispy gingerbread cookies. I’ve always wanted a gingerbread cookie similar in texture to a really good sugar cookie.
This recipe fits the bill. These cookies are packed with gingerbread flavor but the texture has a delicious and surprising softness and chewiness that keeps me going back for just one more gingerbread man. The dough requires chilling and freezing in order for the cookies to keep their shape, but the time invested is well worth it. And as a sidenote, the cookies are egg-free in case that happens to be an allergy you are working around.
Of course my kids got the biggest kick out of biting off their gingerbread man’s arm or leg or head. They thought it was hilarious. I just concentrated on stuffing every bit into my mouth.
- 3 cups (15 ounces) flour
- ¾ cup packed (5 ¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature (but not warm!), cut into 12 pieces
- ¾ cup light or dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons milk
- With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and add the butter pieces. Mix at medium-low speed until the mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and with the mixer running, gradually add the molasses and milk; mix until the dough is evenly moistened about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
- Scrape the dough onto a work surface and divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough ¼ inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment or wax paper, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.
- Remove one dough sheet from the freezer and place on the counter. Peel off the top parchment or wax paper sheet. Gently cut the dough into 5-inch gingerbread people or 3-inch gingerbread cookies, transferring the shapes to the prepared baking sheets with a wide metal spatula and spacing them ¾ inch apart. Set the scraps aside. Repeat with the remaining dough until the baking sheets are full. Because flour is not added during rolling, dough scraps can be rolled and cut as many times as necessary.
- Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 9 minutes. Do not overbake!! Cool the cookies on the sheets 2 minutes, then remove the cookies with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Gather the scraps; repeat the rolling, cutting and baking. Frost as desired (I used a ziploc bag filled with simple white icing).
- Store soft gingerbread in a wide, shallow airtight container or tin with a sheet of parchment paper between the cookie layers. These cookies are best eaten within one week.
Recipe Source: adapted from The New Best Recipe