Making gingerbread men and gingerbread houses around the holidays is always so much fun. The kids love to decorate and the irresistible smell of cooked gingerbread is the best air freshener that I can think of. These cookies are made with unsulphured blackstrap (black) molasses. However, if you can't find blackstrap, then regular molasses will do just fine. They are a little richer and deeper in flavor using the black molasses.
However, we don't have to wait around for the holidays to make our little people come alive. As this gingerbread dough freezes extremely well, we can enjoy gingerbread cookies all year long. I have given instructions using an electric mixer in this recipe; however, you will get the same results using a handheld electric mixer or an old-fashioned wooden spoon. The combination of spices work great together here, but you can adjust these to suit your taste.
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks or 12 tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup blackstrap molasses
4 tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and then whisk them together a little.
2. Using the beater attachment, add the butter and sugar into an electric mixer and beat on the medium setting until combined, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and blend each in thoroughly along with the molasses and the water. Mix well. Add half of the flour and combine. Fold the rest of the flour in and process on low speed until the dough is well blended.
Note :If the dough looks very soft, add more flour - about 2 tbsp. at a time-too dry, add a little water.
When the dough has all come together and is the correct consistency (not too soft, not too wet), roll it into a ball or disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Before rolling out, let the dough sit at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Roll out the dough to the required thickness you would like your gingerbread cookies to be. My kids love the crispy, ginger snap thickness, so around a Œ inch is great for this baked for approximately 10-12 minutes. If you would love a softer texture, roll out the dough a little thicker and cook between 12-15 minutes. Place the currants into the dough before you bake them for eyes and buttons. The dough will rise and look puffy when baked, so dont be fooled by this and think they are not cooked. After you set them on a rack, they will harden up as they cool.
To decorate, you can either set the currants into the uncooked dough as explained above or use a dot of icing and set the currants into this. Decorate as girls or boys or whatever cookie cutter you used. Fun shapes for the holidays are not only the little men, bells, stars and angels. Get creative and have fun with decorations and use other fun cookie cutters for the rest of the year.
Gingerbread Cookie Cutters on Amazon