My friend is student-teaching with me tomorrow, and she messaged me a few hours ago about starting our lesson plan. My response? “Give me like 20 minutes, I’m making cookies.” Yes – finally in the holiday baking grind. Which means I have a ton of gift wrapping and cookie baking left to do, but I thought I’d go ahead and post this recipe for a fun holiday treat.
Gingerbread cookies are actually a lot harder to decorate than it looks – some of mine turned out more creepy looking than festive.
Note: Transfer these cookies with care to avoid my mistake: “Oh no, I broke off his leg! …I guess that means I have to eat that one.”
/Update on that lesson plan: We got A’s in every single evaluation category for our lesson! Cookies totally worth it.
Recipe: Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Men
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly
- ¾ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
- Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda until uniform. Cut in butter pieces into flour mixture until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal.
- Gradually add molasses and milk; process with a hand mixer on low speed until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Refrigerate the dough for about an hour, or until it is easier to work with.
- Scrape dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll ¼-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)
- Peel off the top parchment sheet of the first half of dough and flip it over onto a floured work surface; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men, then transfer to parchment/silpat-lined cookie sheets, spacing them ¾-inch apart.
- Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. Bake cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip (8 to 11 minutes), rotating cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking time.
- Cookies will look slightly undone but will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after removing – leave them on the sheets for 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.
- Once cookies are cool, decorate with royal icing, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Number of servings (yield): ~ 2 dozen cookies
Adapted from Baking Illustrated