Prep: 20 minutes | Chill: 2 hours | Cook: 10 minutes | Yield: about 24 cookies (3-1/2″ cookie cutter)
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 egg yolks (reserve 1 egg white for egg wash)
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons water
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together shortening and brown sugar. Beat in molasses and egg yolk (reserve 1 egg white for egg wash). Combine the remaining dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and combine with brown sugar mixture. Mix until smooth and uniform in color. Pat dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper, cover and chill for at least two hours.
- Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutter. Carefully lift gingerbread men and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Gather up dough scraps, form a ball and roll out and cut cookies, until all dough is used.
- Prepare egg wash by whisking together the reserved egg white, water, and salt. Brush egg wash lightly over the cookies. If desired, sprinkle decorative sugar over cookies or gently press raisins, currents, or whole cloves in the dough to to form eyes and/or buttons. (Note: if decorating gingerbread cookies with icing, wait until after cookies have baked and cooled.)
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until firm. Allow cookies to cool completely on parchment paper.
Adults Only Gingerbread Men: Prepare a glaze of 3/4 cup apricot jam mixed with 1/4 cup of brandy. Brush over cookies immediately after removing from oven. Allow cookies to cool completely. Very good.