My boys love gingerbread–the dark rich flavor of the cookie, and, the poses they can bend and flex the classic-cookie-guys arms and legs before baking. Lately, I’ve been baking gingerbread forests for the gingerbread boys to wander in, too. This recipe, adapted from a decades-old classic from Gourmet magazine is a keeper. The cookies don’t puff up much when you bake them which makes them great for decorating. I like this recipe best made with regular molasses and fresh-ground cloves, rather than already-ground clove powder. I’ve also made this using golden bakers sugar from Mauritius–a fine, golden sugar that has a light molasses taste, instead of the brown sugar. And, I’ve blended sorghum molasses with blackstrap molasses (half-half of each syrup) to mellow-out the blackstrap which is a bit strong in a cookie. Each batch has come out well. So the message is: feel free to experiment a little.
- 3 cups sifted flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 to 2 tsp cinnamon (add more for a more pungent cookie)
- 1 tsp fresh-ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses (or, half blackstrap and half sorghum)
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- Sift flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt into a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together butter sugar, molasses, egg and allspice. Stir the brown-sugar mixture into the dry mixture and knead with your hands until all of the flour has been worked in. Divide the dough in half. Wrap the dough in two pieces of plastic and refrigerate overnight to develop the flavors. (If you don't have time for that, try to chill it at least an hour.) Preheat oven to 375. When ready to bake the cookies, roll the dough, half at a time, 1/3 inch thick. Cut out the gingerboys or trees with a cookie cutter dipped in flour. Transfer forms to a buttered baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes until lightly browned. Rest cookies on baking sheet until cooled. Remove to a rack and decorate.
- If you prefer, you can decorate gingerbread boys with tiny dried currants as buttons and eyes. If doing so, press these into the cookies before baking.