Gingerbread Cookies (Or, If You Prefer, Gingerbread Men)

Enjoy the warm, spicy aroma of fresh gingerbread cookies coming out of your oven. Our classic recipe works great as the base for gingerbread men cut from cookie cutters.

There's just something about the warm spicy aroma of gingerbread cookies that conjure up the holidays. This recipe is a moist and flavorful dough you can use to make cookies and gingerbread people. It's sure to become a part of your holiday cookie making tradition. Start by beating 1/2 of a cup of shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add half a cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, a half a teaspoon of baking soda, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon of ground cloves. Beat the ingredients until they're well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Now, you'll add a half a cup of molasses, one egg and one tablespoon of vinegar, beating them in until they're combined. Gradually add 2-1/2 cups of all purpose flour, beating them as much as you can with a mixer on medium low. Switch to a spoon to stir in the remainder of the flour if necessary. Divide the dough in half, cover both halves with plastic wrap and chill them for about 3 hours. Now, you can preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets and set them aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll half of the dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness. It should be easy to handle now. Use 2-1/2-inch cookie cutters to cut them into desired shapes. Although gingerbread cookies are often thought of for the holidays, those warm spices appeal whenever there's a chill in the air. So, feel free to use simple shapes like snowflakes and rounds. Place the cookies an inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets and bake them in the oven until the bottoms are light brown about 5 to 6 minutes. If you're making gingerbread people, roll the dough slightly thicker about 1/4-inch. Cut them with 4-1/2 to 6-inch people cutters. And bake them until the edges are slightly brown about 6 to 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 1 minute and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool them completely. The cookies are simple and elegant as is and make a great gift. But for a little fun, use powdered sugar icing to dress them up and the kids will love to lend a hand.