I have never been a big fan of ginger. Unless it's pickled and accompanies sushi. However, I wanted to try some gingerbread for the holidays. The kids love baking with me at home, and, really, what is more fun than decorating cookies?
This recipe turned out great. It was cakey and pleasant. It was rigid enough for a house but not dry or crunchy. I have to admit I played the spices by ear, relying mostly on cloves and ginger. Below is by the recipe.
1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temp
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Combine first five ingredients. 2. Stir in dry ingredients until a smooth batter. 3. Bake at 350 about 8 minutes. The cookies will darken slightly, and the edges will be firm.
You may spoon out round cookies. They do not spread, so we rolled them into 1" balls with our hands and then smashed them flat. I like to roll them in sugar before baking. Sanding sugar is gorgeous if you have it.
You can also roll them out to make shapes. I went 1/3" thin. My daughter made hearts; my son made rectangles. Then we made people, or rather giants, that the kiddos decorated with simple icing and candies.
A nice variation would be adding candied ginger pieces or chocolate chips. Golden raisins might be nice, too.
In the end, I am so glad I tried this recipe, as it has overpowered the memory of stale gingerbread houses.