Friday, December 19, 2008

Gingerbread Always Makes It Feel Like Christmas

As the other half of my Operation Baking GALS package, I opted for gingerbread men. I love how the mixture of molasses and spices can evoke the holiday season at any time of the year. I didn't decorate these like I did last year (I didn't think they would stand up as well to the shipping), but I still think they turned out well.

I especially enjoy this recipe because the cookies don't end up very hard (well, at least if you don't overbake them). They puff up in the oven, rounding out any mistakes you might have made (although, that means you don't want to use any cookie cutters with highly intricate details, as they tend to get a little lost during baking).

Easy Gingerbread Cookies

1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in molasses, water and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth and well-combined. Divide dough into three pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters of choice and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, and move to a wire rack to cool.

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