Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

December 8, 2010

One of the traditions in my kitchen each Christmas season is the baking of gingerbread cookies. They are my daughter, Beth’s, favorite and a sweet reminder of childhood. When I make them the whole house is permeated with the soothing smells of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and molasses. As I play Christmas music, make the dough, roll it out and use the well worn gingerbread man cookie cutter, I wonder where all those years have gone, and I wish that my children were here to make these cookies with me.

Now it seems a lonely process, but once they are baked and I decorate what seems like an army of them with smiling faces, I am content in knowing that even as adults, my children will have lasting Christmas memories when gingerbread cookies appear once again this year.

Christmas Gingerbread Men
(and Women)

Makes at least 4 dozen

INGREDIENTS

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses

DIRECTIONS

Sift the flour, soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, white pepper and salt together on a sheet of wax paper or in a bowl.

In a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer cream the sugar and butter until smooth and creamy in a large bowl.Beat in the egg and molasses.

Slowly beat in the flour mixture until well blended. Transfer the dough to a sheet of wax paper; cover and refrigerate at least an hour or two.

Divide the dough into quarters and roll each one out on a lightly floured board. Use your favorite gingerbread cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets at least 1 inch apart.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes our just until set. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Frost them with confectioners icing or leave them plain.

These will freeze well layered in tins or tupperware containers with sheets of wax paper between the layers.