Gingerbread is a holiday staple. Years ago, we used to make houses, an endeavor requiring mathematical calculations, vats of thick frosting and considerable structural engineering skills; challenging and rewarding, but not simple (for us anyway). Gingerbread houses gradually mutated to gingerbread men and women cut out one-by-one and wonkily decorated with blobs of icing with red hot eyeballs. Charming to be sure, but messy and time consuming; who needs that this time of year? As the demand for holiday gingerbread has not ceased in this household, my husband suggested we simply roll the dough into logs, wrap them in plastic and refrigerate like we do with butter cookies. When ready (the dough & us), slice the dough into discs and bake. Once out of the oven and cooled decorate to resemble snowflakes. Here’s how they turned out – we kept the rewarding and charming, omitted the challenging and time consuming.
And here’s the recipe. It’s from Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum (author of The Cake Bible)
Gingerbread People (Snowflakes)
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
-In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda and spices, them whisk together to mix evenly.
-In a food processor with a metal blade, process brown sugar until fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the molasses and egg and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until the dough begins to clump together.
-Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a ball. Divide dough into quarters and roll each into a log shape. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
-Preheat oven to 350. Slice dough into discs and bake 8-10 minutes. Decorate with royal icing.