A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Gingerbread Men for the Holidays!

Gingerbread Men for the Holidays!

My niece is now 31.  She still thinks I need to make her gingerbread men for Christmas.  And so I do.

I got this recipe from my sister years ago, and she got it from her best friend.  Those are the best recipes, aren’t they?
They got a lot easier to make when I got a mixer!  The recipe calls for shortening, molasses, and a 1/2 cup of water.  The water was really hard to mix in by hand, but with the mixer, well, like I said, life got easier.
It starts smelling incredible in the kitchen about now, but when you start mixing the spices together it’s really wonderful.
The recipe also takes five cups of flour so towards the end of the mixing you may either want to use the lowest speed possible, or mix the last bit by hand.  The dough should be very stiff.
The recipe says to chill 2-3 hours, but I usually chill overnight and work on other holiday baking, then just roll and bake the next day.
I work the dough a bit at a time, keeping the remaining dough refrigerated as I work.
And the first batch is ready to go in the oven!  I am a big fan of using the air insulated baking sheets for more even baking of the cookies.
My first batch cracked a little and so I cut back the time on the remaining batches by a minute to avoid overbaking them.
This dough is really versatile and makes for a sturdy cookie.  No eggs in the batter either, so you can nibble to your heart’s content!
Roll thinner, sprinkle with coarse or raw sugar, and you have ginger snaps.  Leave a bit thicker, and bake just slightly longer, and you have gingerbread.
The dough does not like to be overworked so at the end I always do a big thick square that I then cut into smaller squares to have with my coffee.
And here is the container going to my niece!
Cream together:
1 Cup Shortening (I always use Crisco)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Molasses
1/2 Cup water
Sift together:
5 Cups Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2  tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Mix into wet ingredients.
Chill 2-3 hours or overnight.
Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes for 1/4 inch thick cutouts.

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