Gingerbread Cookies

Servings: 24 cookies

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 egg

6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour, additional flour as needed for rolling dough
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Cream butter and sugar
Beat the butter and shortening together in a large mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light brown. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the molasses and mix thoroughly.

Sift flour and spices
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and pepper.

Make dough
Slowly add the flour and spices to the butter and sugar mixture, stirring to incorporate. The dough will be stiff and should not stick to the sides of the bowl.

Chill dough
Separate the dough into two equal sections, form into round disks, and cover with wax paper. Store in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

Roll dough
Once the dough is chilled, remove one of the discs from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for five minutes. Dough should still be cool when rolling. Dust counter generously with flour and place disc on top of flour. Sprinkle additional flour on top of disc. Roll slowly out to 1/8-inch thick for crisp cookies and 1/4-inch thick for softer cookies. If dough cracks while rolling, let sit for another few minutes to warm further. If dough is too sticky to roll, return to the refrigerator to cool.

Bake cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees-F. Cut gingerbread men and women shapes out of the rolled dough and transfer on ungreased cookie sheets using a spatula. Gather the scraps and re-roll to use as much of the dough as possible.

Trick to ensure the dough retains it shape: Use a wide spatula (as large as the cookie cutter being used). Work from a corner of the rolled dough and place the spatula under the dough. Cut the cookie shapes directly on the spatula and transfer to cookie sheets.

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, switching racks after 4 to 5 minutes to ensure even browning. Once out of the oven, let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Decorate and serve
Once the cookies are cooled, decorate as desired. Serve at room temperature and store in an air-tight container.

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