Ma D-der's Best Gingerbread Peoples Cookies
( D-ders is a nick name for me started by My Mother , among my nephews and nieces)
1 cup butter ,unsalted
1 cup organic granulated sugar ( or white granulated sugar)
2 eggs ( or equivalent in egg substitute)
2 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
1 cup unsulphured molasses, mild
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( or white AP flour)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
I use a stand mixer ( 6 quart capacity) but you can use a hand held electric mixer or mix these by hand how ever you prefer. If using a stand mixer , you will want to start with your flat paddle and then when the 1/2 the flour is added you will want to switch to your dough hook. If using a hand mixer , at some point the dough will get to heavy for the mixer and you will want to mix the last of the flour in by hand....
firs tin a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, then set aside.
place the butter in the bowl of the stand mixer or a very large mixing bowl and cream for 30 seconds or until fully creamed and lighter in color ( light lemony color).
next slowly add in the sugar and mix till completely blended, lighter in color and "fluffy" in texture ( medium speed/ speed 2 to 4/ for about 1.5 minutes).
now add the eggs, one at a time , breaking the yolk before adding and beating on medium till each egg is well blended into the butter mixture. stop and crap the bowl and beater well.
Next add the apple cider vinegar and beat 30 sec;
then add the molasses and beat at medium speed ( 1.5 minutes in stand mixer/3 minutes wiht electric hand mixer / until all components are blended to a smooth silky texture if by hand ( up to 300 strokes) stop and scrap the bowl, if need be stir another 15 to 20 seconds to be sure all is blended together very well.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture at about 1/2 cup at a time being sure each addition is mixed in to the dough well. and all the flour called for is incorporated smoothly. As mentioned before you may have to switch to a dough hook about 1/2 way through. You will also need to scape the sides once or twice (or more) to be sure everything is incorporated.
at this point you should have a smooth sticky dough. divide the dough into quarters ( 4 pieces) and wrap each in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, but over night is better.
Spray well your cookie sheets with olive oil cooking spray ( or cooking spray of choice) and pre heat your oven to 375 degrees F. ( use an oven thermometer to be accurate .these are a thin cookie and they can burn inthe blink of an eye)
Remove one dough ball at a time from the refrigerator so the others won't get to soft.
on a Well floured, no porus surface, roll the dough ball in flour then play "hot potato" over the rolling/cutting surface with with the ball to knock off excess flour and to help dust the rolling/cutting surface. ( it should look a little something like the one in this photo)
at this point you can either divide this ball in 1/2 or 1/4 and use a smaller amount for working with, which ever is easiest for you and your allotted rolling space.
keep your dough , rolling pin and rolling/cutting surface and cookie cutter dipped in four to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough to about 1/16 to 1/8th inch thick ( some where between the thickness of the fates coin and the thinnest coin you have in your pocket basically)
cut out as many cookies as you can on a single roll , if you work the dough to much the cookies will be tough and hard instead of tender and crisp.
use a thin metal spatula ( like a frosting spatula) to help remove the cookies from the board to the well sprayed cookie sheet. Use a soft pastry brush to brush any excess flour off the top of the cookies before baking. they can be sprinkled with sugar now, if you do not plan on decorating them later.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 5 to 6 min or until the cookies edges are a very light golden brown ( the cookie lightens as it bakes)
wait one minute for the cookie to set before removing from the cookie sheet to a wire cooling rack .
repeat this process for each dough ball.
cookie dough scraps should be collected up and re rolled to get as many cookies as possible from this dough.. and depending on how thick you roll them and the size of your cookie cutters , this makes a but load..
when completely cool they can be stored in an air tight container till you are ready to decorate. if you plan on freezing them , you should put them in air tight container with sheets of waxed paper between the single layers of cookies. they should not be decorated until they have completely defrosted. they freeze well up to 3 months.
cookies can be decorated with colored frostings, candies ,and small fruits such as currents, this leaves the possibilities endless!
Home you enjoy them ! Ma Fey
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