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gingerbread cookies


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I am going over to my friends house this afternoon and I promised her I would teach her how to make gingerbread cookies. Two years ago I made the thick and chewy ones from Cook's Illustrated (these were really good) and I assumed I pulled it out of their Best recipe book, but checking just a little while ago shows that it was probably pulled off their website. I am no longer a member.... :sad:

A search for gingerbread cookie threads here give me mostly houses or a Martha Stewart recipe that everyone was saying is a little on the hard side but good as decorations.

We are just going to be eating these, not using them as decorations.

Anyone have a good recipe for soft and delicious gingerbread cookies?

EDIT:

just to clarify I am talking about gingerbread men cookies, not cake like ones.

We are going to roll them out, cut out the shapes, bake, frost and eat....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My favorite recipe is from Nick Malgieri's How To Bake. The dough is very easy to work with.

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbl ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2/3 cup unsulfured molasses

1. Place dry ingredients (except sugar) into mixing bowl and stir to combine.

2. Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add half the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl and beaters. Beat in molasses. Scrape again, and add the remaining flour mixture, just until combined.

3. Divide dough into serveral pieces and press each piece into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or until firm. (Personally, I just wrap the whole thing in saran and break off pieces to roll out)

4. Preheat oven to 350F

5. Roll out dough, Cut with floured cutters.

6. Bake about 10 minutes

These actually get better with age because the spices intensify. I've made gingerbread man sandwich cookies using this dough -- stuffing them with apricot jam.

  • Delicious 1

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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This recipe is really good--it's from "Rancho Cooking," by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan

Puerquitos

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

4 ounces butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons dark coffee

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup molasses

1 egg beaten with 2 t water -- for glaze

Beat the butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy, adding the brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and coffee.

Stir together the flour, salt, ginger, and cinnamon till well-blended. Stir the baking soda into the molasses, which will become a bit foamy.

With an electric mixer, beat the molasses into the sugar mixture. Add the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is well blended. Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Roll a portion of the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Cut into piglets with a large cookie cutter. Remove the dough scraps and rechill before rerolling. Carefully place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush with glaze. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don't overbake, as the puerquitos are meant to be soft. Cool on racks.

Yield:

"18 large puerquitos"

NOTES : Variation: Around the holidays these cookies are frosted with bright pink icing. To make the icing, combine 1T soft butter, 1 1/2C powdered suger, and 2T boiling water.Add a droplet of red food coloring. Frost the pigs after baking and cooling. Give each a chocolate chip or raisin eye.

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My favorite recipe is from Nick Malgieri's How To Bake.  The dough is very easy to work with. 

I made these yesterday, thank you!

They were perfect and just what I was looking for. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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This recipe is really good--it's from "Rancho Cooking," by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan

                   

                              Puerquitos

These sound really good!

I don't have any piglet cookie cutters, but I have dolphins... :biggrin:

since we finished eating all of te gingerbread cookies already I might give this one a try today.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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My favorite recipe is from Nick Malgieri's How To Bake.  The dough is very easy to work with. 

I made these yesterday, thank you!

They were perfect and just what I was looking for. :biggrin:

Yeah!!! I'm so glad you liked them. :smile:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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  • 11 months later...

I just tried out my standard gingerbread recipe and realized that I don't really like it that much. Anyone have one that is REALLY good? I'm planning on making gingerbread men, not a house or anything like that.

Thanks in advance.

Dan

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well, to avoid the possibility of giving you the same old - what is the recipe you are using - and what exactly do you dislike about it?

Flavor, texture, ...

My fav is:

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups molasses (not dark)

Mix this together with the paddle

stir in 2/3 cup cold water

(at this point it looks all curdled but persevere

add

2tsp baking soda

1tsp allspice

1 tsp powdered ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

(I ususally forego the spoon and probably put in about 2tsp of each spice)

Lastly

Stir in 6 cups all purpose flour

let this chill for about an hour or overnight

roll out to about 1/2 " thick - or less on a lightly floured board

cut to shape

bake at 350 on ungreased sheets (I prefer parchment)

12-15 minutes

Also makes excellent gingerbread houses with the addition of another cup of flour

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Here is my Aunt Roberta's recipe. Her mother was German, my husband is German, and I am making my third batch of the season today. My husband and I discovered, quite by accident, that these are very good with a glass of cold beer! My Hessan MIL loves these as well, and is no longer baking her own Leibkuchen. Who would have figured? I like the honey rather than the molasses. It kind of gives it something special.

I don't know what recipe you are using, so I can't compare them to what you have.

4 1/3 cups AP flour

1 1/2 TBS. unsweetened cocoa

4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground mace

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup honey (I use the local orange blossom honey, but I think any light honey will do with all the spice!)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 whole egg

1 TBS of orange liquer (I use triple sec to great success, but Grand Marnier wouldn't be unwelcome if you have some laying around)

Sift together flour, cocoa, spices and leavening and set aside. Beat butter, honey and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and triple sec.

By hand with a spatula, beat in sifted dry ingredients by hand a third at a time, until all are thouroughly combined.

Divide dough into thirds, and roll out 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick between sheets of wax paper. Smooth out any creases in the wax paper. Stack on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least an hour and a half until the sheet of dough is stiff. I have kept these chilled for up to a week, with no detrimental effect on the cookie, and actually it might not be bad to let the dough mellow.

Preheat the oven to 350. Remove dough from fridge one sheet at a time, peel off the bottom sheet of wax paper and replace it loosely, then flip over and peel off the other sheet of wax paper and discard. Cut out cookies, placing about an inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Try to bake like sized cookies together. Bake on center rack, 10 to 13 minutes. The cookies will just be light brown on the edges when done. Allow to cool on sheets for 1 or 2 minutes, and transfer to racks.

Gather scraps and reroll between sheets of wax paper, return to fridge, and repeat the process until you use the dough up.

I've never iced these cookies, just served them straight up. Also, these are great fresh from the oven, but BETTER the next morning with a cup of coffee! You wouldn't believe how wonderful the dough and cookies smell, and all that spice gets mellowed out by the honey.

Let me know what you think, if you decide to give it a spin.

Edited by annecros (log)
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Okay, I'm going to ask you guys (or any other members at large):

I've always had tremendous problems baking gingerbread people. The arms and legs often break off when I'm transferring the cookies to the cooling rack! I've tried several recipes, and several cookie cutters. I let the cookies cool on the pan to firm up for a few minutes before removing them with a spatula. What am I doing wrong? Any tricks to prevent this?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I've made lots of gingerbread people this week. What I have been doing is rolling out and baking the cookies on parchment paper and letting them cool 10 minutes or so before removing them from cookie sheet. I haven't lost any arms or legs so far. :raz:

"A few days ago, I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or stroke. The doctor listed many ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet Yoga. Talk a walk. I yelled, "Bake cookies." I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress and he never once mentioned my sure-fire treatment......"

Maida Heatter

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Okay, I'm going to ask you guys (or any other members at large):

I've always had tremendous problems baking gingerbread people. The arms and legs often break off when I'm transferring the cookies to the cooling rack! I've tried several recipes, and several cookie cutters. I let the cookies cool on the pan to firm up for a few minutes before removing them with a spatula. What am I doing wrong? Any tricks to prevent this?

Hmm, I don't know. Are the arms and legs stuck to the pan, or is the texture of the cookie arm and legs crumbly and just falling off the gingerbread torso?

The unfortunate gingerbread amputees that are the victims of my spatula are rapidly dispatched and put out of their misery quickly, in my belly. It is a mercy nibbling. There are always one or two in a batch.

Yes, I am a closet mangler, I suppose.

:biggrin:

Edited by annecros (log)
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And for what it's worth, here's the traditional one used in my family to make decorated cut-out cookies, all iced except for the gingerbread men:

MOLASSES COOKIES

3/4 c melted shortening

1 cup molasses

1 c brown sugar

1 cup thick sour milk [add vinegar to whole milk]

6 c sifted flour

1/2 t salt

2 t powdered ginger

4 t baking soda

1 T lemon extract

I would up the amount and number of spices, including a little nutmeg or mace. I'd try subbing butter for at least some of the shortening, too, but I like the tang that lemon and soured milk contribute, amping up the effect of spice and cutting some of the effect of all the icing, piped decorations, silver balls, etc.

Mix melted shortening, molasses and sugar.

Add sour milk, then sifted dry ingredients. Add lemon extract.

Mix until blended as a rather stiff dough and chill until firm.

Roll to a 1/3-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees, 8-10 minutes.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I saw that! I thought it was bizarre, that she must have deliberately added far too much flour or not enough sugar or something. I didn't understand why it needed to be that firm, though. I haven't made a gingerbread house before so I'm not one to say!

As for my favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies (people, etc), it comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Christmas Cookie book. You can roll it thin and bake it until it is firm - it will be almost like a gingersnap in terms of how hard it is; or you can roll it a little thicker and underbake it ever so slightly for a cookie that stays soft, but stands up to decorating or dipping in chocolate. I posted my adaptation in a previous thread on gingerbread....

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  • 4 years later...

Has anyone ever added fresh ginger to gingerbread/gingersnaps? I'd like to make a batch for Christmas, and I really enjoy the burn that fresh ginger gives.

I'm thinking of adapting Mark Bittman's Gingersnap recipe with a tablespoon or so of fresh grated ginger, and rolling the refrigerated dough in sugar before baking.

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I have a recipe that uses all three types of ginger. Ground, fresh and candied.

In addition, I add half a teaspoon of black pepper and a tablespoon of lemon zest, just because I like them this way.

Triple ginger cookies

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Yes, the pepper must be freshly ground.

I have been adding it to several cookie recipes after reading about how it was used in medieval and Elizabethan times also during the Renaissance. It was a common ingredient in "sweetmeats" made with ground nuts and finely chopped dried fruits and honey. I tried it, liked it and went on from there.

I make a batch of cookie dough, separate a small part and add pepper to just that part, bake them and see if I like the peppered version better than the "regular."

A particular surprise was how well pepper combines with dates - and more than you would expect.

I like dates but often they are way too sweet so I try to make up something that modifies that sweetness a bit. Combining dates with ground almonds and adding black pepper and other spices, makes a huge difference to my taste.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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