I have a confession: I married my husband for his gingerbread cookies. Yes, they are THAT GOOD. His favorite recipe (and he’s tested many) comes courtesy of Irish baker, Gemma Stafford. As it is the Christmas season, I’m feeling rather generous. Below is my gift to you, bake and share in good health.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
Author: Gemma Stafford
Adaptations and Commentary: Jessica Ferchland
First thing’s first. Turn your oven on and set it to 350 degrees.
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup molasses/treacle (or you could use honey)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
How to Bake
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and REFRIGERATE. Word to the wise- this is an Aaron addition- refrigerate AT LEAST 4 hours. Overnight is best.
On a LIGHTLY FLOURED surface, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness. If you use too much flour, your cookies will be D-R-Y.
Cut out your cookies with cookie cutters.
Bake for 9-12 minutes. Seriously, start with 9 minutes. This makes a softer, unburnt cookie. Remember- once you take them out, they continue to cook on the tray until they cool. I would suggest waiting 1-2 minutes and placing them on wax paper to finish cooling.
Make sure your cookies are COOL before icing them.
While you’re waiting, here’s a few fun facts about gingerbread and royal icing.
Queen Elizabeth I made the first gingerbread men as gifts for foreign dignitaries.
Need a date? English folklore suggests that if unmarried women bake and eat gingerbread husbands, they will soon catch the real thing.
Though Royal icing was first created in the 1600s, it only became popular when it was used for Queen Victoria’s wedding cake.
Ready to ice those cookies? Here’s the recipe for Royal Icing!
Courtesy of the awesome Alton Brown
3 oz egg whites- This is roughly three egg WHITES not the yokes!
1 tsp vanilla extract- Aaron swears by Watkins’ vanilla.
4 cups of powdered sugar
In a large bowl or a Kitchenaid mixer, combine egg whites and vanilla. Mix them until they are SUPER frothy. Gradually, add in the powdered sugar and mix on the LOW setting. If this is done correctly, the icing will be glossy and will have peaks. You want it fairly stiff. This whole process shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes. Transfer the mixture into pastry bags or you can use heavy duty storage bags. Enjoy!