Gingerbread Men Cookies
There is nothing quite like the spicy sweet scent of gingerbread cookies in the air to instanly make me think of the holidays. Maybe it has to do with my memories of growing up and helping my mom make batches of cookies. I remember standing on the chair next to her, barely able to see over the top of the mixing bowl, anxiously awaiting my chance to stir the deliciousness that was waiting in that big yellow bowl. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my go to candle scent of the season is gingerbread. Either way, when this time of year comes around I always find myself craving gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men to be specific. Which is why I wanted to share a delicious recipe from the Food Network's very own, Aida Mollenkamp.
I really like her take on the classic recipe. This one uses dark molasses which I personally love. It has an intense unique flavor that you can only describe as molasses. Because of this I recommend using a lighter variety if making with/for children as I've found that molasses has an acquired taste that most kids just haven't had a chance to develop.
INGREDIENTS – Gingerbread Men
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
for dusting the work surface
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
3/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg, at room temperature
Ingredients – Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar (1 [1-pound] box)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice(for thinner frosting use a little more lemon)
Combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and clove in a large bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
Combine the sugar, butter, and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until fluffy and light, about 2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, add the egg, and mix until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until moist throughout, about 2 minutes. Turn the dough onto a dry, clean surface, divide it in half and form it into flat disks, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place half of the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness.
Cut the dough into 3-inch round cookies and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the remaining dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before rerolling.
Bake the cookies until the edges are brown but the centers are still soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly on the baking sheet (about 2 minutes), then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Instructions – Royal Icing
Combine ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed, stopping to scrape down the bowl, until glossy and stiff, about 5 minutes.
Fill a piping bag or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off and use to decorate cookies. (If not using immediately, place a piece of waxed paper on the surface, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. Stir before using.)