Gingerbread Cookies

Hi friends! Today I'm sharing a new favorite recipe for homemade gingerbread cookies. I LOVE gingerbread, and the spicier, the better. This recipe is wonderful. The cookies are perfectly spiced, a little bit chewy, and crispy around the edges. They make the perfect canvas for decorating!

A yearly tradition for me is buying the Taste of Home holiday cookie magazine. I look forward to this every year! Today's recipe is from the current edition.
Just look how cute he is! 

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla (not in magazine-but I think every cookie needs vanilla!)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/4 to 1/2 cups flour (recipe calls for 3 1/4 but I used a bit more to keep dough from being so sticky)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Easy Royal Icing: (my version, not from the magazine)

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk

Decorating:
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions: 
  • In a large bowl, or bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Next beat in egg, then add molasses and vanilla.
  • In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda; gradually add into the wet ingredients, just until dough comes together.
  • Divide the dough into thirds, shape into balls, then flatten into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill 1-2 hours or until the dough is firm enough to roll. I usually stick mine in the freezer until firm and then roll.
  • Preheat oven to 350. On a lightly floured surface (I use my silicone baking mat for this), roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. 
  • Cut with a floured gingerbread cookie cutter (or whichever shape you like!), and place the cookies 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with foil, parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat. 
  • Put the sheet in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until cookies are very firm.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, then let cool on the pan before moving.
  • For the frosting: add confectioners sugar to a medium bowl, and pour in just enough milk to get the icing smooth.

Here's a few pics to walk you through the process in case you haven't tried roll out dough before. 

The dough should be very thick, but not too sticky to handle.
Divide the dough into three balls, and flatten into discs, wrap individually into plastic wrap. 
The dough will need to chill for a few hours before rolling. 
If you're in a pinch for time, chill the dough quicker in the freezer. Once chilled, your dough should look like this. Work with one disk at a time.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Flour a surface and roll dough to 1/4" thick. 
I flour my cookie cutter before cutting to make sure the cookies don't stick. Cut, then transfer cookies to your baking sheet, placing them 2 inches apart. Take your leftover dough and flatten back into a disk, and put back in the freezer or fridge before re-rolling. You want your dough to be firm when rolling.
Next is the most important tip! After moving all your cookies to your tray, put the whole tray in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough hardens. This will help the cookies keep their perfect shape while baking. If you get impatient (like I do sometimes!) and bake the cookies while the dough is on the softer side, they will spread and poof up and lose their shape. You'll get a crackly cookie instead of a smooth pretty one. (Ask me how I know this....ha!) 
Bake for 8-10 minutes. For smaller, thinner cookies, you may only need 8 minutes. If you like a crispier gingerbread-perfect for dipping in milk-roll them on the thinner side and bake just a minute longer.
Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving them. Once they're completely cool, decorate with icing & sprinkles. 
Almost too cute to eat....almost ;-)
Hope you all have wonderful holidays! Enjoy the recipe. 



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