I made an important realization the other day, in amongst all my cookie recipe testing: I've never actually made gingerbread cookies. I mean, I made them with my mom when I was a kid, but that mostly consisted of me wielding a cookie cutter while she made the dough, rolled it out, and baked the cookies. What I mean is I've never actually made gingerbread dough. I knew it involved ginger and molasses and brown sugar, but I have no favourite recipe, no tried and true methods, no specifics.
I do have a young nephew now though and I decided that he should get some gingerbread people for Christmas this year. So after a bit of Googling, I decided to try out this recipe.
The dough came together pretty easily. I'd meant to follow the advice of one of the reviewers and leave out half a cup of the flour, but I had already mixed all the dry ingredients together by the time I remembered. Instead I reserved about half a cup of the dry ingredients and used them to flour the dough and surface when I was rolling out my cookies. It seemed to work reasonably well. Next time I'd just leave out the extra flour from the start though.
Despite the large quantity of ginger called for in these cookies, I didn't find them overly ginger-y once baked. The flavour seemed to intensify slightly once they'd been left to sit/cool overnight, but it still wasn't a very intense ginger flavour. I liked them best fresh out of the oven when they were still warm and soft. TF prefers them now that the flavour has deepened, even though they've lost that wonderful softness they had when they were still hot.
So, what would I do if I were making these again?
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c. fancy molasses
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
2. Cream butter. Add sugar and egg and mix until smooth.
3. Add molasses and vanilla to butter mixture. Mix until smooth and well-blended.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients stirring until just combined.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for at least two hours. (Or chill overnight.)
6. Allow to come to room temperature (if necessary) and roll out dough. Approximately 5mm seems to be a good thickness.
7. Bake at 375F for 5-7 minutes.
8. Decorate with royal icing as desired.
I think I'd also like to experiment with some (ginger-)molasses cookie recipes and see how they compare to the standard gingerbread. Personally, I prefer a nice, soft, chewy cookie and I'm wondering if a molasses cookie might be the way to go for that.