This is my grandmother’s wonderful soft gingerbread recipe, tested over decades of Christmases and recorded in the Myers family cookbook my aunts and mother compiled.
When I was young, we’d paint silly icing outfits, including festive bikinis and Santa hats, on the gingerbread people. For these photos, we used a skeleton cookie cutter to celebrate Day of the Dead and Halloween. The cookies are so good (and we were so lazy and eager to eat) that we didn’t ice them. However, you could go wild with colorful icing and sprinkles for these Day of the Dead cuties.
These cookies get better and softer as they age. The family cookbook recommends adding a slice of apple to the cookie jar, although you could also store them in a zipper-locked bag with the air pressed out. Dunking in milk or tea is highly recommended. Enjoy!
1/3 c shortening
1 c brown sugar
1.5 c molasses
2/3 c cold water
6 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t allspice
1 t ginger
1 t ground cloves
1 t cinnamon
Mix together all ingredients, either in a big mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out your gingerbread people, or other shapes. Spray a cookie sheet with oil or line with parchment paper. Place the cookies on the sheet, leaving about an inch between them. Bake approximately 15 minutes, until puffed. Gather the dough scraps and re-roll to cut more cookies. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 2 to 3 dozen (depending on the size of your cookie cutter).
The cute cookie cutter and my grandmother's beautiful old flour tin
Oops...a distorted cookie, but it looks appropriately creepy in this case.
The finished cookies. Yum!
The family cookbook!
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