Friday, December 9, 2011

What's Bakin?: Spicy Gingerbread Men

Last year I was planning on making gingerbread men with my eldest niece.  Like most plans, it never came to be.  This year, Aunty Holly went to Las Vegas prepared.  I found a recipe on the internet for gingerbread men made from scratch.  I've never made gingerbread men by scratch before.  I've always bought them.  My favorite gingerbread was ones from my grandmother.  When we were little, my grandmother worked at a bakery.  She would always come home with gingerbread men for my brother and I on special occasions.  She would have them write our names on them with icing.  Their gingerbread men were huge and like a soft cookie.  Yummy!

Anyway, this was my first time attempting this recipe.  It was called "Eileen's Spicy Gingerbread Men".  I was a little concerned about the "spicy" part.  However, after reading the reviews from others who tried the recipe, it sounded like kids enjoyed it and adults didn't find it too spicy.  My only problem with the recipe came after resting the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.  The dough was still very soft and sticky.  My initial try with the cut outs yielded mushed men.  They were mis-shapened and deformed.  My father and brother made fun of them.  I tried my best to re-shape them but they were so goofy looking that I scraped them.  I put the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes or so and rerolled them.  This worked really well.  The trick is to be fast cutting out the gingerbread or the dough gets soft again.  If it gets soft, refreeze and try again. 

These were my mushy men:

Once I finally got the hang of it, it was a breeze to cut out.  The cookies came out really good.  They weren't too spicy and even my 5 year old niece liked them.  They were crispy and crunchy.  We had fun decorating them as a family.  That post will follow.  If you have a tried and true gingerbread recipe, I would love to hear about it!  We have to get ready for next year!!

Spicy Gingerbread Men
Adapted from: (Submitted by STEPH67)
Makes: About 18 gingerbread men

1/2 c. butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg yolk (large egg)
2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Misc. supplies:
gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter
candies/sprinkles for decorating

1) In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Stir in molasses and egg yolk.  

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.  Add this dry mixture little by little to your wet ingredients and mix well, until smooth.  Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  On a lightly floured surface and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  **If dough is really soft and sticky, place in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and try rolling it out again**

4) Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven or until firm.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost and decorate when they are cool.  


scrapper al said...

Ohh, they look perfect! But I think you should have baked one of the mushy men, just to see how he'd turn out.