Gingerbread Cookie Dough 

This dough has a great flavor and is intended for cookies, not gingerbread houses.  They are quite flavorful .  You can make the dough days ahead and refrigerate for the greatest of ease in rolling out the dough.  The recipe can be doubled or tripled for more cookies.

Yield:  approximately 36 to 48 cookies, depending on size
Temperature: 350 F
Time: 10 minutes

¾ cup butter or margarine (1 ½ sticks)
¾ cup granulated or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking  soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger (can halve for milder cookies)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (can halve for milder cookies)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
¾ cup molasses (prefer the amber)
¼ cup water
3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (can substitute 1 cup whole wheat for 1 of the cups of flour)

1.  Cream butter and sugar, using high speed of the mixer.  Add salt, solda and spices.  Stir in the molasses and water, using the medium speed.

2.  Using lowest speed, add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix.  After last addition, mix very well to combine well.  Turn dough out of mixing bowl and place between layers of waxed paper.  Chill a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator or faster in the freezer.  Roll when well chilled and firm.  At this point dough can even be frozen.

3.  Roll out dough, half at a time and cut out cookies.  Bake on lightly greased cookie sheets in preheated 350 F. oven until light brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.  Remove to cooling racks.  

4.  When cool, frost as desired with buttercream frosting. 

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