Sunday, March 2, 2008

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Men

5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl; set aside.
2.In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium until smooth.
3.Add the molasses and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4.Add the vanilla.
5.Stir in the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, blending until smooth.
6.The dough should gather into a semifirm mass. (If it's not firm, add another ¼ to ½ cup flour, but not enough to make it crumbly.)
7.Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
8. Divide in half. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic.
9.Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
10.Preheat oven to 350° F.
11.On a floured surface, roll each disk to 1/8 inch thick. Use gingerbread-man cutters to make shapes. Transfer them to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
12. Decorate, if desired.
13.Bake until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes.
14. Cool slightly before transferring to a rack Yield: Makes 3 dozen medium gingerbread men

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