Today's recipe is from yours truly, with a holiday classic: Gingerbread cookies!
If there's a kind of cookie out there that's synonymous with Christmastime, it has to be gingerbread.
As a kid, I always loved getting the gingerbread house kits sold at stores, complete with the thick, rectangular pieces, generic gumdrops in plastic baggies, and the glue-like icing to hold it together. Somehow I would always have selective amnesia after Christmas, thinking the gingerbread house was going to taste awesome after sitting out and getting stale for weeks.
This same thing happened a couple years ago, when childhood reminisce got the best of me and I couldn't resist buying a kit. I had been duped with stale, cardboard tasting gingerbread. AGAIN.
To combat these gingerbread atrocities, or just the fact that I wanted to make gingerbread myself, I made this kind of cookie from scratch for the first time last year. The process is about the same with cutout sugar cookies; the dough is best to work with when refrigerated overnight. It's a detail I almost always forget.
Anyway, I made this particular batch of cookies last week to bring to a little work Christmas potluck, and they were the first thing to go.
Mark also contends it's the best gingerbread he's had, with the perfect balance tang and sweetness. That means a lot, considering he's the biggest food snob I know. (I love him dearly, but his mom spoiled him with confections growing up. She had her own baking business at one point.)
Besides molasses being pretty hard to come by in the store this time of year, this recipe was pretty easy. I might also lighten up on the baking powder, since my men puffed out a bit more than expected.
But I think that smelling these through the house and tasting them is something I would like to do each year. If I were to make only only holiday cookie each year (though doubtful), I think this one would be it. Anyway, enjoy!
Recipe via The Taste of Home
Yields about 18 cookies
• 2/3 cup shortening
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup molasses
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger
• red and green sugar (optional)
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to about a quarter inch thickness. Cut with a floured cookie cutter into desired shapes. Place two inches apart on baking sheets. (I swear by parchment paper!)
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
This recipe also list a buttercream frosting to use, but I think the cookies taste great as is. Personally, I doubled the recipe so we'd have these cookies for awhile. I also have a preference for these with a softness in the middle, rather than a crunch, so I don't leave them in as long.