Soft Chewy Gingerbread Man

I'm a little ginger man,
In the oven I am found,
Good enough to eat,
So toasty and brown,
Just pick me up,
And munch me down!
Finally, it's December, my favorite month. The Christmas lights are all up and everything looks so beautiful. Is there anything more Christmasey than Gingerbread men?  I think not. It’s time to bake some of our own galloping goodies! Last week had been tremendously busy, like how the rhyme goes “Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!”, I've been running around gathering ingredients and comparing suppliers and prices from one place to another. getting extra baking sheets, Christmas gifts jars, choosing the right ribbons, papers, practicing on calligraphy for the gift tags, going back to get more jars. Ran out of flour and rushed out to get more. realized I got no space, and stayed up late to cleared out and organize the pantry, made a list of all the spice and sauces so I would buy double. More brown sugar, today I must remember to get more butter. Better remember to write the shopping list. This Saturday was an afternoon of more baking.

Recipe with NEW VIDEO UPDATE (Dec 2013)
Because you roll out the dough between pieces of parchment paper, and don’t add extra flour, you can keep re-rolling the dough scraps as necessary, and the cookies don’t get tough.
Gingerbread Cookies
My own variation on several widely available recipes. 
650g plain flour 

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt flakes
225g butter
220g molasses
200g brown sugar
2 eggs, 120g
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, Sieve together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), cream butter with brown sugar till pale and fluffy about 10 mins. Add vanilla and gradually add in egg with the electric mixer still running, add in molasses. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated. Dough should be soft and sticky.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll out somewhere between 1/8-inch and ¼-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leave the dough sandwiched between parchment layers, and place on cookie sheet. Freeze it on the cookie sheet until firm, at least an hour, or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 170˙C Remove one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and gently lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. 

Now, you got to work quite fast. Cut dough into desired shapes, transferring shapes to cookie sheets as you go. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. If it’s really frozen, the dough will stay in the cookie cutters when you pick up the shapes, which makes it easy to poke them out onto the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. If the dough is too soft and gooey to work, roll it out on 2 parchment paper and freeze it again. 

Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies).  Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper between the layers.
Keep a sharp eye on the gingerbread men to make sure none of them ran away… and any likely-looking escapees shall get their legs biten off! 

-Till next post, ss.

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