Saturday, December 19, 2009

Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Oh my goodness these are awesome.
These have the perfect blend of spice and sweet, and I MUST have my chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal, and gingerbread cookies....heck, ANY cookie (but Oreo's) must be SOFT and Chewy.

*Makes about 2 dozen cookies, adapted from My Kitchen Cafe*

3 cups flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature -cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk

With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and add the butter pieces. Mix at medium-low speed 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal.

Reduce the speed to low and with the mixer running, gradually add the molasses and milk; mix until the dough is evenly moistened and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Scrape the dough onto a non-floured work surface and divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough ¼ inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment or wax paper, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Or refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Remove one dough sheet from the freezer and place on the counter. Peel off the top parchment or wax paper sheet. Gently cut the dough into 5-inch gingerbread people or 3-inch gingerbread cookies, transferring the shapes to the prepared baking sheets with a wide metal spatula and spacing them ¾ inch apart. You may want to re-freeze in between steps to keep dough easy to work with. Set the scraps aside. Repeat with the remaining dough until the baking sheets are full.

Because flour is not added during rolling, dough scraps can be rolled and cut as many times as necessary.

Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains and imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 9 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool the cookies on the sheets 2 minutes, then remove the cookies with a wide metal spatula to a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Frost as desired (I used a ziploc bag filled with simple white icing). Store soft gingerbread in a wide, shallow airtight container or tin with a sheet of parchment paper between the cookie layers. These cookies are best eaten within one week but you can freeze them too!

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