Christmas is just around the coorner and it occurs to me that I've never shared my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe with you so here it is. These cookies are soft and flavorful, but not too spicy and not too sweet. They pair well with royal icing if you choose to add it, but they're perfectly tasty without. The cookie dough is a dream to work with and it holds its shape beautifully when baked. It's flexible too - good for small or large cookies.... and the dough can be made well in advance. Love this recipe! I hope you give it a try.
This cookie recipe starts in a very uncommon way - on the stove top.
Sugar, molasses, water, and spices are brought to a rolling boil. I do this in a heat tolerant "caramel pot" (see what I mean here). The mixture is removed from the heat and butter is stirred in until completely melted.
While the molasses mixture cools a bit, flour, baking soda, and salt are whisked to combine.
Then the molasses and flour mixtures are combined just until combined.
My BeaterBlade makes quick work of the job and I don't have to stop to scrape down the sides of my mixing bowl.
The mixture is soft and sticky - too soft and sticky to work with. It needs to chill out in the fridge overnight before rolling and baking. Place the mixture into a gallon-size zipper bag and pop it in the fridge. The cookie dough will darken in color and firm considerably.
The next day (or week), roll the cookie dough between 2 layers of wax paper to 1/4-inch thickness (I love using these Pastry Wands - all my cookies are exactly the same thickness). I've also found these rolling guides very helpful. Using wax paper eliminates the need to dust the cookie dough with excess flour, which makes subsequent cookies tough.
Cut desired shapes. Here I'm using an adorable mini gingerbread house cutter.
I can't wait to see it assembled.
Awesome Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat sugar, molasses, water, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.
Cool for 15 minutes
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Pour flour mixture into cooled molasses mixture; stir until combined.
Place dough in a gallon-size zipper storage bag; refrigerate overnight (or up to a week).
Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll dough between two layers of wax paper or parchment until dough is 1/4-inch thick.
Cut desired shapes using cutters that have been dipped in flour.
Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined sheet pans; bake 8-10 minutes for small to medium cookies (12 minutes or more for very large cookies).
When cookies are cool enough to handle without distorting, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Note: Cookie dough can be stored in the fridge for up to a week before baking. To make cookie dough even further in advance, freeze well wrapped in plastic. Thaw wrapped cookie dough overnight in the fridge before rolling and baking.
recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen