Can I have a cookie?
August 27, 2009 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Perfect Gingerbread: Strong flavour, soft, but can be cut into pretty shapes and decorated. What have you got?

I have a craving for gingerbread men, the brown kind that aren't ginger snaps, but have a good spicy taste and hold a shape pretty well. I'm also open to surprises, so variations on the classic flavour choices are good too. Please share, hive kitchen!
posted by Phalene to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
For making shaped gingerbread cookies, we like Paula Deen's recipe, actually. If you want to punch up the ginger flavor, use fresh grated ginger instead of ground. Letting the dough rest in the refrigerator is essential.

You could also consider adding fresh ground clove.
posted by jedicus at 9:39 AM on August 27, 2009

Martha Stewart's gingerbread is a soft and chewy cookie (she adds cocoa, too). As I understand it, that's the reason it doesn't hold shapes well--because it's soft and chewy and puffs in cooking. It's delicious, though.

This recipe (without cocoa) has a little less butter and considerably less baking soda. The author describes it as soft and says it holds shapes well.

Like jedicus said, using fresh grated ginger instead of powdered really makes a difference.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2009

The best gingerbread men I have ever tasted or made are from the PostPunkKitchen. I agree with the other posters --- fresh ginger is much better than powdered.
posted by headnsouth at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you want something a bit more cake-like, we've used the Gingerbread recipe over at the King Arthur Flour blog. It's really, really, good. In fact, we use a lot of their baking recipes and haven't found a bad one yet.
posted by jquinby at 9:58 AM on August 27, 2009

We use my great grandmother's recipe -
Ginger Cookies - Soft ones - Recipe from Nana Hart

Mix Thoroughly
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup and ¼ c packed brown sugar

Stir in
1 & ½ cup molasses

Stir in
½ cup cold water

Sift 1 cup of flour with following spices
1-teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon allspice
1-teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Stir in another 5 cups of flour. You may need to use your hands for last cup of flour

Stir in 2 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons of cold water

Chill dough - Roll out very thick about ¼" and bake until when touched lightly with finger, no imprint remains

Oven Temp 325 degrees (F)
Time - 15-18 minutes or 8-10
This recipe makes soft cookies, and doesn't have the structural integrity for gingerbread houses or hardness of ginger snaps (I have excellent recipes for both). Also, it's accidentally vegan - not planned that way, but apparently my great grandmother just preferred vegetable shortening to butter. I don't know whether you can get transfat free shortening (not an issue in the 1930s) or what this tastes like made with butter, but you can experiment.

What I would say is that it can get tough to mix come the last couple of cups of flour - you will need someone to hold the bowl. My mother always used an old-fashioned mixture with a crank, while I wrapped my arms around it to hold it in place.
posted by jb at 10:16 AM on August 27, 2009

Oh - this recipe holds shapes very well - but will stay soft in the middle, if you don't roll too thin or overback.

They are brown (obviously), so you will want to decorate with bright sprinkles, raisons, cranberries or icing.
posted by jb at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2009

Also - I just realised I should warn you -

the proportions in my family's recipe are for Christmas baking and will produce about 60+ cookies, so you'll want to 1/2 or 1/4 my recipe. That said, I always double or quadruple the spices, so 1/4 the flour, shortening, etc and leave the spices - and you will have a very flavourful cookie.
posted by jb at 10:20 AM on August 27, 2009

Dang - why don't I check before I post: one more caveat --

in my family, molasses ALWAYS means fancy molasses - if you use cooking molasses, it will overwhelm the flavour.

And, like I said, if you want more ginger, clove, etc, increase the proportion of that.
posted by jb at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2009

« Older Lean Times   |   What's it worth? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.