Gingerbread cookies are a tradition at Christmas time. They make terrific gifts for school parties, hostess gifts and neighbors. So cute all dressed up in royal icing and candy hearts. Molasses is typically used to make the dough but here in Puerto Rico its next to impossible to find Gramma’s Molasses and the Blackstrap Molasses available here in health food stores yields nearly a black cookie rather than a golden brown cookie. Honey makes a terrific substitute as long as you use dark brown sugar which has a higher molasses content than light brown sugar. After making a couple sample batches of dough I’m really pleased with the flavor and color achieved with honey and dark brown sugar…these cookies are just like Mom made way back when.
The El Coqui Rincon magazine was kind enough to advertise my cookies for sale in the November issue (check out http://elcoquirincon.com). Each cookie is 4-inches tall, wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with a red ribbon. Orders are pouring in this week and I expect they’ll continue to come up until Christmas week.
The dough is quite soft so to roll it out I use parchment paper dusted very lightly with flour, then dust the top of the dough with a bit more flour and place plastic wrap on top. Once the dough is rolled to about 1/8-inch I remove the plastic wrap, cut the cookies with a floured cutter, remove the excess dough and place the parchment with the cut-out cookies on a cookie sheet. Pop the whole baking sheet of cut-out cookies into the freezer until they are firm. This will prevent the cookies from spreading too much. I got this idea from Laura Vitali’s video and I thought it was so clever. When the oven is up to temperture 350° F. (180° C.) I bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes.
Do try this recipe and method.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1-1/2 cups butter (salted) (3 sticks as room temperature)
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 whole egg
- In a medium sized bowl whisk the first 6 ingredients together and reserve.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the dark brown sugar until fluffy, add the honey and egg, beat well. Gradually add the reserved flour mixture to the butter mixture.
- Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap sprinkled with flour and using the plastic wrap shape the dough into a rectangular package. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to one week. Remove dough from frig when it is quite firm.
- Preheat oven 350° F. Roll dough 1/8″ thick and cut out gingerbread men using parchment paper as detailed in blog post above. Chill cut-outs 20 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes for my oven but your’s could be only 10 or 12 minutes.
- Remove baking sheets and let set 5 minutes before removing cookies to a cooling rack.
- Decorate cookies with royal icing when they are completely cooled.