Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gingerbread Men Cookies

When my mom was in High School she needed a recipe to make for her Home Economics class.  Her grandma Lucy (my great grandma) shared this recipe with her and helped her make these Gingerbread Men.
This is the recipe my mom copied down from her back in high school!
Here's how to make them:
 Add 2 cups of sugar into the bowl of your mixer.
 Add 1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored), and cream together.
 Mix in 1 cup molasses
 Now mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda into 2 tablespoon hot water and add the batter
 Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and mix well.
Mix in 3 eggs (I didn't save out the white of one).
Now add 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice
 and 4-1/2 cups of flour.  Mix well. If the dough is still a little sticky add 1/4 cup more flour.  You want a really stiff dough.
 Roll out on a floured surface.  I rolled mine out about a 1/8 of an inch thick.
 Use a cookie cutter to make your gingerbread men.
 Carefully transfer them to a greased baking sheet.
 Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes.  Bake them less time if you want a soft cookie and longer if you like a crispy cookie.
 Let cookies cool completely before decorating.
I used a meringue buttercream to decorate with.  It still hardens, but it's not super hard like royal icing. I didn't take pictures of how I made this, but I'll share the recipe below. 
Aren't they cute?
Gingerbread Men Cookies
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon soda
2 tablespoons hot water
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
4-1/2 cups flour

Cream sugar and shortening.  Add molasses.  Dissolve soda in hot water and add to batter.  Mix in eggs.  Add spices and flour, mix well.  If dough is still sticky add 1/4 cup more flour.  Roll out dough 1/8" thick and cut with gingerbread cookie cutter.  Bake cookies on a greased cookie sheet 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sorry my husband had knee surgery and things have been a little crazy around here.  Here is the recipe!
Meringue Buttercream
1/3 cup water
3 Tablespoons meringue powder or 3 egg whites
½ cup shortening
4 ½ cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder (or egg whites) in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well. Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly pour in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated. Turn mixer to high and whip until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and mix well. Change to the paddle attachment (if using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before).  Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more.

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