BuffaloSpree.com's recipe of the week: Gingerbread Cookies
Buffalo Spree's favorite chef, Joe George, shared this recipe for gingerbread cookies with Spree readers back in 2002. This recipe is a good one, producing a dough with the ideal texture for rolling out and cutting into little gingerbread men and women.
Gingerbread is a centuries-old European treat, with manufacture dating back as early as the 11th century. Back then, gingerbread became so wildly popular that it was available year round, cut into shapes that reflected the season and sold by street vendors and bakers. By the 17th century, it was an item that could be sold exclusively by gingerbread bakers, with the exception of the Easter and Christmas season, when demand for the sweet treat was beyond what the licensed bakers could meet.
Here in early America, gingerbread recipes brought over by European immigrants took on regional adaptations. In the Northeast it was sweetened with maple syrup, in the South with sorghum molasses.
While today's gingerbread is typically less intense in flavor than ancient versions, it is still a delightful holiday treat. Whether it is iced with Martha Stewart-like finesse and skill, or covered in gloppy, homemade icing applied by your favorite kid, gingerbread is the quintessential holiday cookie. Enjoy!
Spree.com's Gingerbread Cookies
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
In the bowl of an electric mixer that is fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and honey, and mix thoroughly. Scrape down the bow with a rubber spatula.
Sift together the salt, baking powder, and flour, and add it to the creamed ingredients. With the mixer operating on slow speed, mix the ingredients just until it forms a thick dough. Wrap the dough in cellophane and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake the cookies on a lightly oiled cookie sheet in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown around their edges. Cool on a wire rack and, if desired, ice the cookies with simple sugar icing.
Pour a small amount (1/4 cup) of cool milk or water into a bowl and stir in enough powdered sugar to form a thick batter. Store any unused icing in a sealed container at room temperature (if made with water), and in the refrigerator (if made with milk).