Gingerbread Men Cookies

Gingerbread Men1

4 Days til Christmas, guys! Today I get to share one of my favorite recipes from our Christmas series. I hope you enjoy it- but first, some more trivia:

12 Days of Christmas {Treats}

  1. During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States. (This isn’t very surprising, I’ve certainly been putting mine to good use.)
  2. The busiest shopping day of the year is not Black Friday, but the Saturday before Christmas. The busiest online shopping day takes place on the Monday or Tuesday a week or two before the week of Christmas. (I hate to admit it, but I’m absolutely one of those people who wait until the last minute to do the bulk of my Christmas shopping. It sucks, but it’s the truth.)
  3. Retailers take advantage of traditional Christmas smells and tastes to attract customers. For example, retailers may waft the smell of roasting chestnuts throughout their store and offer free samples of Christmas cookies. Holiday smells and tastes also stimulate the saliva glands, which makes shoppers hungry. Hungry shoppers are more likely to buy anything, not just food. (It could just be that I live in a small-ish town, but I’ve never experienced this in any of the major department stores that cater to Christmas shoppers where I love. That is an interesting and probably very effective tactic though.)

Source, Source

Gingerbread Men2

I know that by now in the series, I’ve already made Ginger Snaps and Gingerbread.You’re probably wondering: Jess, is it really necessary to throw in one more ‘ginger’ themed recipe? Answer being….yes. Because you can never have too much ginger-stuff- especially not at Christmas. And especially not when it comes to these gingerbread men cookies.

Gingerbread Men4

Whereas Gingersnaps are traditionally either really chewy or crunchy and Gingerbread is fluffy and almost cake-like, these Gingerbread men meet somewhere in the middle of those two. Of all three ginger recipes that I’ve made this year, I’ve gotta say that these are without a doubt, my favorite. They really puff up in the oven, so they’re thick and sturdy enough for decorating. Best of all, as long as you don’t over bake them,  the dough stays soft and tender for days (which is how I prefer to eat them).

As you can see, I chose to decorate my gingerbread men with my standard favorite toppings: an icing made with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract with sprinkles on top. However, if you have small children at home, feel free to use whatever else you like. I found this recipe at browneyedbaker.com and have been using it for the past couple of years or so. It’s easy to follow and makes quite a few cookies to share…or keep all to yourself. Your choice.

Today’s Christmas recommendation is actually for a short story by Truman Capote called “A Christmas Memory”. I first read it many years ago in school (I don’t remember how old I was), but I do remember that it made an impression on me, and that I liked it very much. It’s about a young boy named Buddy that recalls a memory he has from his childhood of baking Christmas fruitcakes with one of his distant relatives who is slightly mentally retarded. It’s simple, but very sweet and even somewhat sad at the end. I like to read it not only because Truman Capote is a gifted writer, but because there’s a kind of Christmas nostalgia in the language of the story that I just love. I’ve included a link to an online version of it in the picture, so if you would like to read it (and I highly recommend that you do).

****************************************

Gingerbread Men Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly.
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions

1. In food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade, process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds. (Alternatively, in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1½ minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.)

2. Scrape dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll ¼-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4. Remove one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into gingerbread people or round cookies, transferring shapes to parchment-line cookie sheets with a wide metal spatula, spacing them ¾-inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. Bake cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking time. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.

5. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting and baking in steps 2 and 4. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is used.

6. Once cookies are cool, decorate with royal icing, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

*****************************************************

6 thoughts on “Gingerbread Men Cookies

Gimme some Feed(me) Back!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s