Now my boys know: every year we make gingerbread cookies AND we send them out to family and friends. This accidental tradition has been such a long lasting and fun time for us. The dough is made and let to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours sometimes 2 or 3 days. That lets the dough rest and really allows all the flavors to mix. It makes for an excellent cookie. If I make the dough without the boys, I will usually present them with the zip lock full of brown dough and let them take a sniff. I always get a thumbs up from that unmistakable aroma. We've been baking these cookies for 4 years at least. Now they are 9 and 6 and I'm pretty sure they will expect this tradition to happen every year - forever. The decorating is fun too.
Dry: Combine in bowl. Set aside.
3.5 cups of All Purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (unless you have only salted butter- then NO salt)
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Wet: Beat in mixer until well blended
6 Tbs unsalted butter (if salted don't add salt to the dry ingredients)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbs of finely sliced and minced fresh ginger (a microblade is perfect for the slicing)
3/4 cup molassas
2 tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp finely grated and chopped orange zest - no pith! I use a very sharp blade peeler for this and take no white pith in my cut.
Then gradually add the Dry ingredients to the Wet and mix until smooth. Put your dough in a zip lock bag and put in the refrigerator for 24 hrs- 3 days.
Remove dough from frige and let it sit while you prpare your surface. Use flour and spread where you will roll out the dough. Dust your rolling pin as well. Only roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time. Roll out to 1/4 in thickness. I use skewers on the sides as I roll out my dough for a guide. When the pin is rolling on the skewers I know it is thin enough.
Cut as much as you can from the first rolling. Use a spatula to transfer to the pan to bake. Take scraps and tap off excess flour and set in a bowl as you transfer the cookies to the baking sheet (covered with parchment).
Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes. I tend to go lower time than higher. With a 7 minute bake you will still have some give in the cookie. At 9 minutes you start to get more crunch.
Work the scrap dough while the first pan bakes. Cycle using two pans covered with parchment until you finish baking. Cool cookies on racks until there is NO heat. Cover and store to frost later or frost now - but only if they have fully cooled.
Decorate with royal icing, raisins, peppermints, dried cranberries etc. Enjoy!
Royal icing- powdered sugar, lemon juice, water