Here’s a holiday favourite that goes back at least a thousand years, when an Armenian Monk brought the recipe with him to Europe. From there, it spread across Europe with travelers and emigrated to the rest of the world with European explorers. No wonder it’s a universal favourite today!
Everybody I know loves a Gingerbread Man cookie for the holidays! Whether you decorate them with all sorts of icing and sprinkles or just munch them by themselves with a cup of Cocoa, it’s the perfect blend of sweet Molasses and spicy Ginger that you remember from year to year.
Here’s my favourite recipe for soft, chewy, rich-tasting Gingerbread cookies. Not too sweet and not too hot:
3 cups Cake and pastry Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
A pinch of Salt
1 tbsp Ginger
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/3 cup softened Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup Molasses
2 tsp real Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl Stir well to thoroughly combine.
In another large bowl (ideally, the bowl of a stand mixer), cream together the Sugar, Butter, Vanilla, Egg and Molasses.
Add the Dry ingredients to the Wet in several additions, thoroughly incorporating the last portion of dry addition before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during the process to ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed. the dough will be stiff, about the consistency of modelling clay or unbaked Puff Pastry.
Remove the dough from the Mixer bowl and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic film and allow to rest at room temperature for half an hour.
How we roll…
After resting, divide the dough into two equal pieces and re-wrap one for use later. Roll the other out to a thickness of 1/4 in / 1 cm and use whatever shape of cookie cutter you like to punch out cookie shapes. Place the cookies on a baking pan lined with parchment paper leaving at least 1 in. of space between cookies.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in that 35 F oven, but take care not to over-bake. You want these Gingerbreads to be soft and chewy!
Allow the cookies to cool completely before attempting to handle them. This is especially important of you are making traditional Gingerbread ‘men’ as their arm, legs and heads may fall off if you try to move the cookies while they are still the least bit warm. Seriously.
Decorate with Sprinkles, icing or whatever you like. Store in a tight-lidded container for up to three weeks.
~ Maggie J.