Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

We had huge compliments on these cookies.  They are full of Christmas spice flavor are the perfect combination of crunchy and moist.  They are easy to use with cookie cutters, and keep very well for at least a week.  Tabitha preferred them with frosting on top, and Gibson like them with or without frosting.  I love the Triple Ginger Snaps from Trader Joe's - these have the same kick as those cookies do (while being completely different).

This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion.  We have loved every single recipe we've made out of this book, with NO modifications (and that's really saying something for me!).  
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup (8 oz) packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon [we used Vietnamese cinnamon, which is stronger than the normal stuff.  Usually you would use less, but we used the full 2 tsp because we like spice!]
1 cup molasses
1 large egg
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in
1/4 cup water
Cream the butter, brown sugar, salt, and spices together.  Add the molasses and egg and mix well.  Stir in half of the flour and the soda dissolved in water, mixing until well combined.  Add the remaining flour.  Depending on the power of your mixer, you may need to add the last bit of flour by hand and knead it in.  Divide the dough in half and wrap well.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  The dough changes over the resting period, making it easier to work with and adding flavor to the cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Work with half the dough at a time on a well floured surface.  Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick.  Use cookie cutters to cut the cookies into shapes.  [If the dough starts to stick, put it back in the refrigerator for a while to harden up.]  Transfer the cookies to ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch between them. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to over bake.  The cookies will still be soft when done.  Let them rest on baking sheet to firm before transferring to a rack to cool.