Before I started this blog, I baked and decorated special occasion desserts so it’s no surprise that I love to decorate holiday cookies. Once I get started, I can get into “the zone” for hours, happily wielding colorful icing bags and sparkly candies to create everything from dapper gingerbread men to ornate snowflakes. But while it’s easy to make lovely-looking holiday cookies, it’s a challenge to make them taste good too. Usually, the prettier a cookie is, the worse it tastes. And gingerbread cookies are the worst offenders — more often than not, they taste like cardboard. But that’s not the case with these adorable gingerbread men (and gals). Crisp outside and soft inside, they taste as good as they look.
To begin, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper in a medium bowl.
Whisk to combine.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer.
Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Beat in the egg and molasses.
Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
The dough will be quite sticky.
Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to a few days.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Roll, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary, to about 1/8-inch thick.
Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Use royal icing or store-bought icing to decorate the cookies.
Let the icing set, then enjoy!
- 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 6 tablespoons molasses
- Royal icing or store-bought icing, for decorating
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses.
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Divide the dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour or up to three days.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F; set two racks near the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If the dough has been in the fridge for longer than an hour, you'll need to let it sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes and knead it briefly until it is supple enough to roll.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Dust more flour over the dough. Roll, turning and adding more flour under and over the dough as necessary, to about 1/8-inch thick (or for softer cookies, roll to 1/4-inch thick). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, using a spatula if necessary. Gather the dough scraps and knead into a ball, then roll out and cut again, adding more flour as necessary. Repeat until scraps are used up.
- Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, for 8 to 10 minutes or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes until set, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- When the cookies are completely cool, decorate with icing. Let the icing set completely, a few hours, then store in an airtight container.
- Serving size: 1 cookie without icing
- Calories: 78
- Fat: 3 g
- Saturated fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 11 g
- Sugar: 6 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 1 g
- Sodium: 73 mg
- Cholesterol: 12 mg
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