My little guy and I had fun this Christmas coming up with cookies to bake for Santa. We decided to do our old standby, salted peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and to bake some gingerbread people. Cook's Illustrated had a recipe for thick and chewy gingerbread that's dynamite, so I adapted it so my lactose-intolerant husband could enjoy them too. With one small adjustment, these can also be vegan, just sub the 2 tablespoons of milk with soy or almond milk.
Thick and chewy gingerbread cookies, adapted from Cook's Illustrated "The New Best Recipe" cookbook.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening or coconut oil
- 3/4 cup light or dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons milk (I used lactose-free milk, but almond or soy milk would work fine)
In a food processor, process flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt until combined. Add the shortening, and pulse until mixture is sandy, about 15 seconds. With the machine running, gradually add the molasses and milk; process until the dough is evenly moistened, about 10 seconds.
Scrape the dough onto a work surface; divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough 1/4 inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. You could also refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight.
Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove 1 dough sheet from the freezer; place on the work surface. Peel off the top parchment sheet and gently lay it back in place. Flip the dough over; peel off and discard the second parchment sheet. Cut the dough into 5 inch gingerbread people or 3 inch gingerbread people, transferring the shapes to the baking sheets leaving 3/4 inch of space between cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough until both sheets are full.
Bake cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains an imprint when touched gently, 8 to 11 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on the sheets 2 minutes, then remove cookies to a wire rack; cool to room temperature.
Gather scraps; repeat the rolling, cutting and baking.