"People Cookies"

Hello everyone!  These are actually Gingerbread Cookies, however, since Ryan could talk, he has called them “People Cookies.”  I think it’s the most appropriate name for them as no one of them looks the same, they all seem to have their own personalities.  Try to bake them when your family is home, the aroma is amazing, I believe companies have tried to make candles with this scent!  Involve your kids in the decorating, they will LOVE it!  I do the piping and my boys place the raisin eyes and cinnamon buttons on each cookie.  They also are more than willing to taste, you know, to be sure they’re good….

You will want to be sure to refrigerate the dough at least an hour before you roll it out.  I like to make the dough a day or two ahead of time, then bake.  When you do this, the dough gets pretty hard.  You have to let it sit out at room temperature for at least an hour.  I start out by cutting off about a 4″ chunk and I work it with my hands until I’m able to put it onto a floured board and roll it out.  From that point on you just keep adding new dough to the scraps on the counter, kneading it together to form a pliable dough you can roll out.  Also, when measuring the flour, be sure you sift the flour to be sure that you aren’t using too much, the dough will be too dry with too much flour and will make it hard to roll out. If this is the case, simply add a little water, kneading to get it to a rolling out consistency.

When baking, I line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.  This makes for non stick baking, as well as easy removal right out of the oven onto a cooling rack.  The cookies will cool faster on the rack on  parchment than on the pan.  In addition, wait until they’re mostly cool before you remove them to give them a chance to set up.

Decorating takes practice.  I use an icing that I pipe onto the cookie, I use a Wilton 12″ featherweight decorating bag with tip #5.  You can find these at most any craft store, I got mine from a Michael’s and I think JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts carry them too.  After decorating, I let them sit out, uncovered over night for the icing to set up.  I then carefully package them. You can use royal icing as well, however, it gets extremely hard and I don’t like the taste as much.

Here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

Gingerbread Boys and/or Girls

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dark raisins
Cinnamon candy for buttons or gumdrops

1)Cream butter and sugar together in  large mixing bowl or stand mixer. 
2)Add egg, beat until light & fluffy. 
3)Add molasses, mix well. 
4)Sift dry ingredients & mix into creamed mixture a small amount at a time.  Knead into a ball, cover with saran wrap & chill.
5)Preheat oven to 375′.
6)Roll out to 1/4″ on a lightly floured board.  Cut with gingerbread boy/girl shapes. 
7)Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Watch carefully, smaller cookies may take 8 minutes while a very large cookie may take 10-11 minutes.  It is good to remove them from the oven when they’re slightly brown and puffed up.  When they cool, they settle into a flat cookie.  You will have a crunch exterior and a soft interior, YUM!

Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons water

Beat in a medium size bowl butter and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and add water, a tablespoon at a time.  You may have to add a small amount more for the right consistency for piping.  You do not want too much water as the icing will run down the sides of the cookie.

My little boy absolutely loves these cookies.  I hope you and your family have as much fun as we do making, decorating, and eating them!  Have fun!  Email me if you have any questions!

Angie

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