I know this post is a few days after Christmas, but I absolutely LOVE how these turned out! I could eat them all at once, but they do have a bit of a stronger taste to them than most of the cookies I make, so I have to pace myself :) These cookies were also a little bit involved, so just a warning! They took us working on them throughout the evening, but it was so fun! And the dough need to chill for about 3 hours, so you could let the dough chill overnight if you want. Original Recipe Found Here.
These hardly need any decorating or icing, they are perfect just the way they are! They were so fun to make, and I have always been so enamored by the beautiful color of gingerbread dough. What a beautiful color!
That amazing color I'm talking about comes from one of the main ingredients - Molasses! This was our first time ever using this stuff in anything, and it was very easy to use. I found it at our local Co-Op, for about $5.99, but here is the best price I found online.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature (I used more butter here)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
Position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)
To roll out the cookies, work with one disk at a time, keeping the other disk refrigerated. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than 3 hours, it may need a few more minutes.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick, being sure that the dough isn't sticking to the work surface (run a long meal spatula or knife under the dough occasionally just to be sure, and dust the surface with more flour, if needed). For softer cookies, roll out slightly thicker. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.
Bake, switching the positions of the cookies from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely. Decorate with Royal Icing. (The cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.)
For The Icing - I only had a tiny bit of powdered sugar. So, I basically mixed a few Tbsp of powdered sugar with a splash of milk and a bit of corn syrup to thicken it up. It was more like a glaze, though. For the decorations, I used three sprinkles as buttons.
Well, I hope you enjoy these cookies! They took a lot of work, but wow, did they turn out well! Enjoy!