December is cookie season, and, for us, it just wouldn't be the holidays without gingerbread men, ahem, make that people.
Digging into our archives, we came up with this recipe for Soft and Chewy Gingerbread People from “The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars” by America’s Test Kitchen.
“These gingerbread cookies are nothing like the stale versions you punch a hole in and trim the Christmas tree with," write the editors. “Our people, while still flat enough to decorate, are soft and chewy and brimming with ginger and molasses flavors, not overwhelmed by dusty spices."
For ease, use a food processor to make the dough, mixing the dry ingredients first before adding the butter, molasses and a little milk, the editors advised.
Rolling the dough to a ¼-inch thickness was ideal to attain the soft and chewy texture.
Soft and Chewy Gingerbread People
Makes about 20 cookies. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen "The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars" cookbook.
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup light molasses
2 tablespoons milk
1. Process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves and salt in food processor until combined, about 10 seconds.
2. Add melted butter, molasses and milk, and process until soft dough forms and no streaks of flour remain, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
3. Spray counter lightly with baking spray and dust with flour, transfer dough to counter, and knead until dough forms cohesive ball, about 20 seconds. Divide dough in half. Form each half into 5-inch disk, wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll ¼-inch-thick between 2 large sheets of parchment. (Keep second disk of dough refrigerated while rolling out first.) Remove top piece of parchment. Using 3½-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes. Peel away scraps from around cookies and space shapes ¾-inch apart on prepared sheets.
6. Repeat rolling and cutting steps with dough scraps.
7. Bake cookies until puffy and just set around edges, 9 to 11 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
8. Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving. Cookies can be stored in wide, shallow, airtight container, with sheet of parchment or waxed paper between each layer, at room temperature for up to three days.
Makes 1⅓ cups icing.
2 large egg whites
2⅔ cups (10⅔ ounces) powdered sugar
1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and sugar on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until glossy, soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
2. Transfer icing to pastry bag fitted with small round pastry tip. Decorate cookies. Allow icing to harden before serving.
Note: For colored icing, stir 1 to 2 drops of food coloring to achieve the desired color before transferring it to a pastry bag.