Prep 2 hrs
Cook 10 mins
These are absolutely the best gingerbread cookies I have ever tried.
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 teaspoon clove
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 lb unsalted butter
- 2⁄3 cup light brown sugar or 2⁄3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2⁄3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 lb confectioners' sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 drop lemon juice or 1 drop vinegar
- food coloring, if desired
- For the dough, sift the dry ingredients (except sugar) into a mixing bowl and stir or whisk well to combine.
- Beat the butter and sugar by machine and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, scraping down often.
- Beat in half the flour mixture, then stop and scrape down the bowl and beaters.
- Beat in the molasses, scrape again, and beat in the remaining flour mixture, just until combined.
- Divide the dough into several pieces and press each piece into a rectangle slightly more than 1/4" thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap (this step is important).
- Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or until firm.
- Can be left overnight or frozen at this point.
- Set racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Roll the dough, one piece at a time, on a floured surface just to make the dough flat and even but not much thinner.
- The cookies should be 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut with floured cutters and arrange on the pans at an inch or two apart, to make room for expansion during baking.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Re-roll the scraps immediately or press together, chill and re-roll later.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until firm when pressed with a fingertip.
- (They won't have much extra color and should dent slightly when touched).
- Cool the cookies on pans a minute or two, then transfer to racks.
- Meanwhile, for the icing, combine the confectioner's sugar and egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat by machine until combined.
- Add the lemon juice or vinegar and continue beating till fluffy.
- Divide the icing into several small bowls and add the coloring.
- Keep plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the icing to prevent a crust from being formed.
- Use a pastry bag or spread icing on cookies to decorate.
- Use raisins, currants and other decorative sweet bits for extra garnish.
- If you'd like to use the cookies to hang on a Christmas tree, make a small hole near the top of the cookie as soon as they come out of the oven so you can get a narrow ribbon or string through.
- Variation: Cut round cookies and sandwich them with some heated apricot jam.
- The variations are endless.
Delicious! Soft dough handles well after chilling (Step7-8) - I refrigerated dough overnight. Step 6 make them very easy to roll to 1/4-inch thickenss after dough was chilled. I used a 3-inch gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter, and recipe made 48 gingerbread, and about 20 (1-1/2") smaller men I cut from the scraps. I cooked them a little longer than stated, as we like gingerbread men crunchy. Next time I'll add more ginger, etc. to suit out taste (guess I was thinking gingersnaps). I froze cookes and will ice them just before placing in clear decorated bags to include in gift baskets. (Thus I can't comment on icing yet.) Mean, thanks for a delicious recipe that works well, even for a novice.
Awesome! I love gingerbread cookies and this one was a real winner! I think the best tip was cooling the dough AFTER it was rolled out, it made the dough easy to work with and easy to ransfer the cut outs to the baking sheet. I rolled out the scraps and cooled it again before cutting out the shapes. I made these for a Christmas bake exchange and they were a real hit. I didn't use the icing suggested, I used melted white chocolate instead. This recipe made 15 dozen tiny gingerbread men ( approx. 1 inch tall) thanks for this great recipe!
Great flavor, I didn't have a problem with sticking, I did refrigerate as directed and added about 1/4 t. of ground cayenne (red) pepper to punch up the flavor a bit more (my favorite Gingersnaps, Stauffer's list that as an ingredient in their cookies).
If you like them soft, don't roll them quite as thin, if you like them crisper, I would suggest leaving in a bit longer, any thinner rolling might make it difficult to transfer from surface to pan.
We decorated with our own lemon glaze (3/4 c. powdered sugar, 1 T melted butter, 1 T. milk, 1/2 t. vanilla extract, 1/2 t.lemon juice & food coloring). Very tasty. Thanks for sharing!