December 15, 2014

Gingerbread Men

You could argue the best part of Christmas baking is decorating gingerbread men.  I take that back.  Taste-testing the dough and/or baked creations is the best.  Gingerbread come in at a close second.  

This year a teacher ordered a batch of gingerbread men, so they had to look gorgeous... Well how did I do?  I was pretty proud of myself!  Not a difficult design, but they all turned out decent and uniform.  

Halfway through I was ready to chop off my hand!  (If it was like the gingerbread's arms I would have taken a big bite!)  One batch makes 2-3 dozen...and each cookie has 4 swirls, 2 eyes, a mouth, a bow tie, and two buttons.  Let me tell you that's a lot of decorating! But it was worth it.  Look how beautiful, they belong on a big tray at some expensive Christmas party...

Okay, maybe I'm dreaming a bit...  One day.  One day someone rich or famous will order my gingerbread men for their Christmas party.  But until then I guess I'll just have to keep making them for myself.  

This is really the only gingerbread recipe I'll use.  It's soft and chewy, not too sweet but still has all the flavors of gingerbread.  I'm surprised there were enough cookies left to take a picture!  Or the ones in the photo aren't missing an arm or a leg!

Gingerbread Men

by Simple and Sweet Creations
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Decorating icing and assorted candies
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, egg, vanilla and lemon peel.
In another bowl, whisk flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves. Gradually beat into creamed mixture.
Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter.
Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm.
Cool on wire rack and decorate.

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