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Gingerbread Men

Classic gingerbread cookies, great to snack on, and even more fun to decorate
Course Snack
Cuisine European
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 30 -35 cookies
Author Caramel Tinted Life (adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • 140 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar I make my own brown sugar using molasses and granulated sugar by combining 1 cup of sugar and 1.5 tablespoon molasses in a food processor
  • 2/3 cup molasses available at most apothekes in Switzerland
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Royal Icing:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  • Start by sifting together the dry ingredients - combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger powder, cinnamon powder in mixing bowl and keep this aside.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer or in a stand-mixer. Beat the butter until fluffy
  • Add the brown sugar, molasses, egg and vanilla extract and continue to mix on low speed
  • Slowly, and in 3 batches, add the dry ingredients
  • When the dough just begins to come together, stop mixing
  • Using your hands, turn out the dough on a work bench and bring it together
  • Separate the dough into three parts and shape each part into a rough ball
  • Using cling film, roll up each ball of dough and keep them to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Gingerbread dough is supposed to be best kept overnight, giving the spices time to mature
  • After chilling, take out a ball at a time and roll out the dough between two pieces of cling film, the thickness of the sheet should be slightly thicker than that of a coin
  • As you take the dough out of the fridge, begin preheating the oven at 150 C (300F)
  • Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake the cookies at 150 C for 15 minutes
  • As the cookies cool, they will harden
  • Prepare the royal icing:
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the egg white using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, until soft peaks form
  • Add the sifted confectioners sugar and continue to whip till the icing is thick and of pipe-able consistency
  • Add a little lemon juice and whip till just combined
  • Use the royal icing immediately

Notes

When rolling out the cookie dough, make sure it is chilled (not frozen), for the dough to roll easily.
Rolling the dough between cling film is the easiest way to ensure evenly and smoothly rolled dough
Royal icing is best made with egg whites, always use organic, and if possible pasteurized egg whites. Meringue powder is a good substitute. Here is a good guide to preparing royal icing and storing it: http://sweetopia.net/2011/01/how-do-you-store-royal-icing-and-how-long-can-you-keep-it/