No cookie says “Christmas” like gingerbread men and nothing prepares me more to wrap gifts than some of these cookies with a good cup of hot cocoa.
To kick off this holiday season, I baked a cozy gingerbread family to share with my own family. I used a classic recipe rather than one of those chocolate-stuffed, gluten-free, 30-calorie miracles. Although this recipe is simple, it is spectacular enough that if baked crispy enough the cookies can be multi-purposed as tree ornaments.
After running to the store to fetch some molasses, because who actually has molasses in their pantry, I turned up the Christmas music so the cookies would be made with cheer and tied on my apron because I am a wrecking ball when I bake.
The entire house quickly filled with the warm aroma of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg—what a dream! And to make this dream even better, it began to snow.
Something to note, if you want soft and chewy cookies, remove them from the oven around eight minutes, but for a crispier cookie, if you are looking to use them as ornaments or other decorations, remove them closer to 10 minutes.
The best part about these cookies is that they make for easy and creative gift-giving. Use a variety of cookie cutter sizes to make families or groups of friends. For a whimsical presentation, pack them in a cellophane bag and tie with ribbon.
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1⁄4 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons milk
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup butter, softened
1⁄2 cup molasses
1 large egg
Sprinkles, M&Ms and chocolate chips (optional)
Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Beat together granulated sugar and butter in a separate large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until smooth and well blended. Add molasses and egg; beat until well blended. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until well blended. Divide dough in half; shape each dough portion into a flat disk. Wrap dough portions separately in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove 1 dough portion from refrigerator; remove plastic wrap. Roll dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut with a gingerbread man or woman cookie cutter. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portion. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
To prepare decorations, combine powdered sugar and milk, stirring until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a heavy-duty zip-lock plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of the bag to use as an icing tube. Squeeze icing onto cookies. Decorate as desired with sprinkles, M&Ms and chocolate chips.
Emma St. Aubin