Soft Gingersnaps & Gingerbread MenWho doesn't love to get a little gingerbread man as part of their massive intake of sugary gifts around the holidays? They're usually decorated pretty cute, and really are the icon of Christmas cookies.
Am I right or am I right?
*the largest gingerbread man made measures 20 feet tall and 1,308 pounds
*it has it's own fairy tale, The Gingerbread Man ('Run, run, as fast as you can; you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man')
*in the famous Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, there's a whole army of the little guys that help defeat the evil Mouse King. Go Team GB!
*Candy Land anyone? The Gingerbread People rule that game
*Gingy! The crazy, lovable Gingerbread Man from the Shrek movies
Notice nowhere did I mention how they're known for blowing your tastebuds' minds.
Friends, I have changed that, right here, right now.
Not only can you make the softest, most flavorful Gingersnap cookies, but you can turn that same recipe into the most delicious Gingerbread Men with a couple extra steps.
Have you ever used an actual ginger root? It's really quite tedious,
as you must peel the skin, then grate the actual pulp, but then you run
into the middle core after a few grates so you have to flip it and grate
the other side; most of it just stays on the grater so you have to pick it off....
just say no. Get the tube.
Molasses is the other key to great cookies. There is mild, dark, and blackstrap molasses. I recently started buying dark, just to get more a robust flavor. Apparently blackstrap has all sorts of vitamins and minerals and oodles of health benefits, but I haven't found that yet. Dark (or full) is a happy medium.
First you make your gingersnap dough. Remove half of the dough and reserve for the gingerbread men.
With the remaining half, use a cookie scoop for even balls of dough, then roll in sugar.
One of the best things I did was go out and buy an oven thermometer. You hang the thermometer from one of your racks, and it tells you how hot your oven actually is. Turns out mine is 25 degrees too hot.
Take the cookies out and let them rest on the pan about ten minutes, then move to cooling racks.
Let cool completely.
Frost those babies with melted white chocolate chips, shortening, and almond extract.
Have you ever had candied ginger? That stuff has some kick! It's certainly not candy for the faint of heart. I can't really eat it plain, but atop a sweet cookie, it's absolutely perfect. You can usually find candied ginger wherever you find your bulk nuts, oats, and whole-foods candy.
Dice the candied ginger, sprinkle on the chocolate, then dust with cinnamon.
soft on the inside, slightly crispy on the edges, a little spicy, and über playful.
Take the remaining half of your dough and mix in 1/2 c flour. Roll the dough out onto parchment paper, cover with plastic, and chill for at least an hour.
Cut out your men. And women. And babies with curly Q's as hair.
I like my men a little crispy on the edges. If you're like me, you're gonna wanna bake these for 11-12 minutes. If you'd like them softer, more like bread, keep it at 10 minutes.
Again, with the cooling completely.
I'm sorry, I know patience is not your virtue.
Nor is it mine.
In the meantime, make your royal icing. This icing recipe is not mine, I found it here.
Royal icing is actually very simple, and it looks so elegant! I love it! It's easy to work with, and the video on piping techniques really helped. Letting the icing fall onto the cookie with you leading it aids in getting those smooth, straight lines.
You see that little lady front and center? She's my favorite.
I bedazzled her necklace just because.
Decorating is usually my favorite part, except when it's midnight and I just worked an insanely stressful 13-hour shift after only sleeping a couple hours the previous night, spent a couple hours at the doctor's on the way home to get some antibiotics because my throat wanted to be on my outsides, then burst into tears because the pharmacy wouldn't fill said antibiotics, I'm exhausted, and I didn't even get to see my kid that day. It's amazing what a hot shower will do for your desires to pipe some frosting and throw down some red-hots.
And the guy next to him that's screaming red-hots? He's a little cray-cray, but I like him like that.
Doesn't he look like he'd be a goofy little guy?
And we bit off a head or two of my other little guys, which definitely got the toddler stamp of approval.