R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson
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Best. Gingerbread Men. Ever.


Gingerbread Men
Originally uploaded by rj-anderson
When my son came home from Junior Kindergarten excitedly waving a recipe for making gingerbread men, I confess my heart sank a little. I've tasted many such cookies, and even though they might look cute on the outside, the gingerbread was always so dry and bland that I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. Besides, who wants to spend all that time messing around with decorations and icing? Not me.

However, this one just said "decorate with raisins", so I thought hm, maybe it doesn't need icing and I should give it a try. And I did manage to find a gingerbread man-shaped plastic mould (it wasn't even a proper cutter -- I got it out of a Rice Krispies box) in my cupboard, so I worked up my courage, followed the recipe, and...

Oh.

Oh my.

You definitely don't need icing for these (in fact the mere idea wounds my soul). You don't need fancy decorations, either. I raided my cupboard for currants, raisins and dried marachino cherries, and a few seconds with a knife gave me all the eyes, buttons and smiles a gingerbread man could need.

And they aren't hard, or bland. They are spicy and chewy and delicious, and the only reason I am not eating the head off my third or fourth cookie right now is because I am heroically restraining myself.

***

THE BEST GINGERBREAD MEN EVER NO REALLY I MEAN IT

Sift into a big bowl and mix:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Beat together in another bowl:
1 egg
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup dark molasses
6 tbsp. softened butter

Add dry ingredients slowly to wet mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift flour onto your board and your rolling pin as you work to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out a portion of dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your gingerbread men with a floured cookie cutter.

Use a spatula to transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place 1-2 inches apart. Decorate your gingerbread men with raisins, currants, slices of dried marachino cherries, chocolate chips, M&M's, or whatever you have on hand (kids love to do this part!).

Bake your gingerbread for 8 minutes if you like them chewy. If you like them firmer and crunchier you can leave them in for 9-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe supposedly makes 50 if you use a 2-inch cutter -- I got 27 using a 3-inch one. But they're so easy to make I wouldn't mind doing another batch.

***

Enjoy! And don't tell me you iced them or I will come after you with a wiffle bat, you philistine.
Tags: awesome, christmas, recipes
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