Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gingerbread Men & Snowflakes

I have never made gingerbread from scratch.  Hard to believe since I am a spice girl, and love these spicy cookies during the holiday, and well, anytime of year.  Lately, I have been indulging in Trader Joes Triple Ginger Thin Cookies.  They are super ginger-y, crisp, and only 170 calories for 9 cookies.

Back to the cookies at hand—I decided to tackle these for the first time this year.  I figured it would get me ready for the gingerbread house that will have to be pushed to next year because I procrastinated on my holiday baking a lot little this year.  Oh well, top 100 list.

I discovered something very important in making these cookies, gingerbread contains molasses.  I did not know this.  No, I am not crazy, just blissfully unaware.  For good reason, you see, I do not like molasses in its natural state.  While making these cookies, molasses was all I could smell.  I could actually tell when they were done by how the molasses smelled while baking.

The finished product was wonderful however, and the awful smell and taste of “raw” molasses was replaced with the pleasant cooked smell and taste of gingerbread.  Whatever transformation happens to molasses in the oven is necessary for my nose and palette.  I would make these cookies again (even suffering through the smell of molasses, just to get the finished results).

Gingerbread Rollout Cookies
Adapted from a Washington Post Recipe

3 cups Flour
1 TBS Cinnamon
1 TBS Ginger
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
12 TBS Butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
6 oz Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Molasses
2 TBS Milk

1. Combine flour, spices, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
2. Cream together butter and sugar.  Add molasses and milk.
3. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture in three parts.
4. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick between parchment paper.  Dip cookie cutters in flour prior to cutting out shapes.
5. Remove dough scrapes.  Re-roll and cut until all used.
6. Place cut shapes in the freezer for about one hour.
7. Preheat oven to 350F.
8. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes.  Cookies will no longer be glossy.  When set they will barely retain a gentle fingerprint when touched.
9.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
10. To decorate use royal icing (and sparkling sugar for the snowflakes).

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