December 24, 2009

Gingerbread Men

It's definitely been a busy (but fun) week in my kitchen. It's my fourth day of baking yet I still have lots to do before delivering my cookies tomorrow. This year, I have a nice mix of new and old recipes on my cookie list. I like to repeat a few old recipes year after year because I know that even if the new recipes turn out strange, or even catastrophic, I'll still have these tried and true recipes to fall back on.


One such recipe is for gingerbread men. These cookies are thick and chewy, opposed to the sturdy gingerbread used to build houses or the crunchy ginger buttons I posted about not too long ago. Gingerbread men definitely are a must for me every Christmas. Just the smell of them baking in the oven, all the spices: the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, automatically makes me think of the holidays.


Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe

3 cups flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks butter,slightly softened
3/4 cup molasses
2 T milk

Combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Then mix in the brown sugar. In another bowl, mix together the molasses and milk till evenly combined. Cut up your butter into tablespoon pieces and sprinkle them over your flour mixture. With a pastry blender or knives or even with your fingers, work the butter into the dough until it resembles a fine meal. Then add a third of your molasses/milk mix to the bowl and combine. Repeat two more times until all the molasses/milk is incorporated into the flour.

By now, you should have a soft, even dough. Gather it into a ball and divide it in two. Place one half of the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll it to a 1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with the other dough half. Stack the two plastic wrap sandwiched dough sheets on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Once the dough is firm, remove it from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take one sheet of dough, flip it over and peel off the bottom piece of plastic wrap. Place the plastic wrap back on and flip it all back. Now peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap and begin cutting out your cookies with your cookie cutters, placing the cookies onto the parchment-lined trays as you cut. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes, depending on how large your cookies are (8 minutes for 3-inch shapes and up to 11 minutes for 5-inch shapes).

They should be set when taken out of the oven, but not hard. Let them cool on their trays for a few minutes, then let them finish cooling on a wire rack. When the cookies are totally cool, you are free to decorate them however you want. I like to melt candy melts or chocolate to glue circular sprinkles on as buttons. But feel free to let your imagination soar. White chocolate outlines. Covered with green and red sprinkles. Iced with a shiny frosting. There are plenty of possibilities.

28 comments:

  1. haha aww you put buttons on them! i love your backgrounds in all your pictures!

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  2. Hey Susan,

    Lovely blog you have here! I'm going to start following you, hahah ;]
    Thanks so much for the cookies! They're adorable and are so yummy and I liked how you had a small list of the cookies, telling us what they are :D

    Jolene said that the cookies looked so nice that she almost didn't want to eat them, lol.

    Merry Christmas to you too! And thanks again! :]

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  3. Steph: Hehe, yup. They looked rather naked without them :).

    Florence: Thanks! And you're very welcome. I'm glad the list was useful :D. I really do like baking cookies for people, so it was no problem. And thank you for leaving feedback on the cookies! I like knowing that people enjoyed them.

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  4. These are the best-looking gingerbread cookies I've ever seen and I will definitely be making them next year! I wonder if I can wait that long...

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  5. Veronica: Thanks for the compliment! I hope you enjoy them whenever you decide to make them!

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  6. These thick and chewy gingerbread cookies look so yummy! I love the photos! These cookies are simply decorated and so very refined. I bet they taste awesome. Wish I had some right now!

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  7. These cookies look so moist and delicious, I really want to eat them right now. I so would if I could. I'll definitely be trying these. Thanks for the great recipe!

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  8. marla: I try to go for simplicity when I have so many cookies to decorate. Thanks!

    Christina and Jacob: You're welcome for the recipe. Definitely try it out! The cookies really are delicious :).

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  9. does it have to be DARK brown sugar? (:

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  10. Anonymous: Nope, light brown sugar works perfectly well. Just as long as it's BROWN sugar.

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  11. Yum! Those look adorable & delish. I'm dying to make some.

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  12. These look amazing! But I was wondering if you know how much this recipe yields?

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  13. Jus: Thank you. They are really yummy; you must try them out :).

    Stacey: I remember that this recipe makes A LOT of cookies. I'm not sure exactly how many though because it does depend on how big the cookie cutter you use is.

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  14. I made these last weekend! and I love the texture! so chewy mmmmmm. Mine turned out to be a lot darker than your pictures though, almost the colour of dark chocolate :S and I have no idea why! nonetheless they still tasted awesome =D thanks for the recipe!

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  15. Tooshie: Nice to hear about your baking experience. Perhaps yours are darker because you used dark brown sugar or maybe a different type of molasses? But as long as it still tastes good, then it's all good :).

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  16. Hi, I wanted to ask if dough of those cookies is suitable for making gingerbread house? Won't it be too soft, will it be strong enough to not fall apart and keep a shape of house?

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  17. Jolanta: I actually tried this out a few years ago; I made some small houses with leftover dough. Personally, I don't think it works too well, not because the cookies are too soft (I baked them for a bit longer so they would be crisper), but because the cookies puff in the oven. It's impossible to get straight edges for the walls, so they don't really match up and a lot of frosting needs to be used to glue them together.

    Here's a picture if you're curious:
    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6174/6251906006_d13eab913f_o.jpg

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  18. Hi! I was wondering how long you can store these? They sound and look delicious!

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  19. Anonymous: If you keep then in an air-tight container, they should remain fresh for up to a week. If you want to bake them early and keep them fresh for longer, after baking them and letting them cool, store them in the freezer and then when you want to eat them, let them defrost back to room temperature and they should be good as new.

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  20. Would this work ok if you made the dough a few days in advance?

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  21. This is my favorite recipe, but I find it impossible to roll them out before they are chilled. I ended up wasting half of the dough. I just put two balls of dough in the fridge overnight and roll them out the next day. So much easier to handle!

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  22. Anonymous: As long as you keep the dough refrigerated it should be okay.

    Kyle: Refrigerating the dough definitely helps. I always find myself doing so as well :).

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  23. I'm not quiet understanding what you are doing with the plastic wrap once you take the rolled out dough out of the refrigerator before cutting it. It sounds like you are just taking it off then putting it back on.

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  24. These are pretty spectacular. Followed recipe exactly, but used 8" gingerbread man cutter and so baked for 14 minutes. Perfect! So chewy and delicious.

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  25. I'm making these puppies today. I think I will cut down on the spices a bit though as I prefer a milder gingerbread... but really, those are the BEST LOOKING g-bread cookies I have ever seen!! Look so nice and moist/chewy... If I wanted dry cookies I'd just go to the grocery store bulk bins!!

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  26. I didn't use a huge cutter and I only got about 15 cookies...did I do something wrong?

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    1. That's really odd. I always end up with a lot more, at least 30. You do reroll out the dough scraps to cut out more cookies right? If so, then perhaps you need to roll your dough out thinner.

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  27. What does the "T's" mean in

    2 T milk
    and in 1/2 t salt
    ?

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