Recipe: Gingerbread cookies
1 teaspoon plus ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup light molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ to 1/3 cup milk
Dried currants, red hots, fresh or dried cranberries, and silver dragees for decorating
Frosting and confectioners’ sugar
Preheat an oven to 350F. Using the 1 teaspoon butter, grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, beat the ½ cup butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Beat in about ¼ cup milk, then add the remaining flour mixture, beating it in well. The dough will be very stiff. If it is too stiff and crumbly to roll out, add 1 tablespoon of additional milk.
On a well-floured work surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of about ½ inch, then cut into shapes using cookie cutters or by tracing with a knife around cardboard cutouts. Transfer the shapes to the prepared pan.
Decorate the gingerbread people with currant eyes and red-hots for buttons, pressing them into the dough before baking, or attach them with frosting after baking.
Bake for seven to eight minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and spring back when pushed with your finger. Transfer the cookies from the pan to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with frosting as desired.
Makes about 16 four-inch cookies.
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Excerpted from Christmas Sweets: 65 Festive Recipes - Table Decorations - Sweet Gift Ideas. Published by Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2007 by Georgeanne Brennan. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Chronicle Books.