Of all the cookies of Christmas, these are the ones my children look forward to the most. They look forward to sneaking pinches of the dough to snack on, they look forward to eating the crispy, spicy cookies, but most of all they look forward to decorating them. In our house, gingerbread decoration is their responsibility.
Over the years we have made gingerbread stars, and trees, and Santas. We have made hearts, and feet, and strange fantastical animals, but we keep coming back to people. Of all the cookie shapes, gingerbread people are the ones they like to decorate the most.
My favourite gingerbread recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Christmas cookie book. Here is my version of it.
- 3 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger (I buy dried pieces and grate them as needed)
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I buy them whole and grate as needed)
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 12 T. butter
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 1 egg
- Cream the butter with the sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices.
- Beat in the syrup and egg.
- Stir in the flour until just blended.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and remove the dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough out into a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.
- Cut with cookie cutters.
- Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until the edges begin to color. This will take 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.
- Gather the dough scraps, re-roll them and cut and bake more cookies.
- Allow cookies to cool thoroughly before decorating.