happy little gingerbread men...

I prefer my Gingerbread Men naked...as in...I am not a huge fan of Royal Icing...
so I left them in their natural state of yumminess...
When I first started this little baking celebration I put out the word on facebook asking if there were any particular recipes that people wanted me to research. Two particular cookies kept popping up. Sugar cookies and gingerbread. 

Gingerbread is a new addition to my life. I was not a fan in my younger years but the palette changes as we age and last year I was re-introduced and the search for the perfect gingerbread cookie began. I made Gingerbread Trees with Lemon Icing and fell in love. These cookies were crisp and light, with a lovely hint of ginger, nothing overwhelming mind you. I made them three times over the course of a month. 

Yes, they were that good!

Well my friends, I have found another winner with this recipe. The orange zest is the key to happiness here. It breaks through the heaviness of the molasses. The recipe calls for mild molasses but I tried it with blackstrap as well and it was just as yummy I must say. 

So let us raise a toast to Day 18 of the 25 Days of Christmas Treat Extravaganza!!

Happy Baking!

(for more recipes...head over here...click)

Gingerbread Cookies
(recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 t ground ginger
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t salt 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup mild molasses
1 T finely grated orange zest (usually one orange)

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt  In a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg, mixing until combined, then add the molasses and orange zest and beat on medium until smooth stopping to scrape the bowl as needed, about 2 mintues.  On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until the flour is incorporated, scraping bowl as needed, about 2 minutes.  The dough will be very stiff and sticky.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured baking sheet and pat into 1-inch thickness.  Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate for an hour.  

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment. 

Cut the chilled dough into quarters.  on a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out the cookies and space on cookie sheets 1/2 inch apart. 

Bake the cookies, rotating and swapping the sheets position halfway through, until firm to the touch and the edges are slightly golden, about 10 minutes.  Place the cookies on a rack and cool completely.
Mary L. on Foodista