the BEST gingerbread — recipe

Gingerbread Cookies –adapted from the Martha Stewart, Holiday Cookies Special Issue, December 2001

Makes about 16 large cookies (depends on the cookie cutter you choose!)

6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

4 heaping tsp ground ginger

4 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ tsp ground cloves

1 ½ tsp finely ground pepper

1 ½ tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup molasses

  1. In large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. On low speed, add flour mixture into the mix.
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape into flattened disks; wrap in plastic (I find it easiest to put the dough on a layer of plastic wrap and press it down into a disk, than wrap it with the plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll it into a more even disk).  Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. You will need a few baking sheets lined with parchment paper, an offset spatula, a rolling pin and, of course, cookie cutters! Remove dough from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling.  Place a large piece of parchment paper on a clean counter surface and dust generously with flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
  5. Taking a quarter of the disk at a time, roll dough to about a ¼ inch thickness, stopping every once in a while to release the dough from the paper by running the spatula under the dough. Add more flour to keep it from sticking if necessary.
  6. Cut dough into desired shapes. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp but not darkened, rotating halfway through. Let cookies cool on wire racks than decorate as you wish.

 Quick tips:

Pop the tray of unbaked cut out cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking; this will help the cookies retain their shape in the oven.

If you’d like to use your cookies as ornaments, just make a hole with a clean nail (or something similar) at the top of the cookie before you bake them.

This recipe is easy to halve or double (or triple!) so you can make lots and they freeze well for a month or two! (Possibly longer, but they never last more than that in my house…)

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