Tis the season for gingerbread men and women, so we thought we would share our favourite recipe. This has been tweaked from the original (added espresso powder and vanilla extract) and works perfectly. Decorated with royal icing, people will be asking you where you bought them.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
For the Royal Icing
2 tbsp meringue powder
1 lb icing sugar
6 tbsp water
For the Cookies:
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar in an electric mixer.
Add egg, molasses and vanilla. Beat well.
Add in the dry ingredients (remaining ingredients) and mix slowly at first.
Once incorporated, increase the speed of the mixer until a dough is formed. Scrape down the edges and mix again. It should be sticky.
Shape the dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for minimum 2 hours, and up to 3 days.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Use a gingerbread cutter to shape. Use a spatula transfer the gingerbread to a lined baking sheet.
Place baking sheet with gingerbread men in the refrigerator for 30 mins. This allows the dough to maintain its shape when baking.
Bake for 8-14 minutes (depending on the size of your gingerbread cutter). I used a small one, and my cookies baked for 9 minutes. They are done when they are just beginning to brown and are firm.
For the Icing:
Sift the sugar and meringue powder into bowl of electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add water and beat until it has soft peaks.
I like to ice the gingerbread men using ziplock bags and multiple colours. I transfer spatula-fuls of icing to a ziplock, add food colouring, and then seal. I mix it around in the ziplock and then slice a tiny piece of the edge to create a make-shift piping bag.
I use white icing to draw all the faces first. Feel free to get creative and draw emoji faces (Thanks RT for that idea). I’ll then use different colours to add gum-drop buttons, ties, bowties, draw outlines and any other designs. Be creative!
Domestic Goddess lovingly refers to these as Menchies (little people). They are great.
Science Fact of the Week:
Like me as a kid, you may be asking – what on earth is molasses? Molasses is a byproduct of refining cane sugar. It comes from crushed sugar cane. It comes in multiple forms: light, dark, molasses, blackstrap, sulphured and unsulphured. We use unsulphured molasses, meaning it has no sulphur dioxide added to it. Molasses is very high in sugar, but it is unlike refined sugar in that it contains some vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.