December 16th, 2008

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

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Gingerbread from back in the day

What a difference 4 years makes. When Terry and I made these Gingerbread Punks for a lost episode of Post Punk Kitchen, we seemed to have all the time in the world to mix colors, make leopard spots and paint on fishnets. And, apparently, we didn’t know how to turn off the flash on our camera. My kitchen was so tiny we had to roll the cookies out on the coffee table and balance bowls of neon icing in precarious ways; sometimes on a stack of books, sometimes on a cat – we made do. When I was moving to Portland I actually found one of these cookies in the back of one of my cabinets.

Now we’re 3,000 miles apart, we have dishwashers and counterspace and I can barely muster up a couple of dots for my little gingerbread bread eyes. But whether you’re going all out or part of the gingerbread minimalist movement, this recipe is a surefire winner that will have you singing Christmas carols under your breath and then looking around to make sure no one heard you.

Modern minimalist gingerbread guys

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
Makes about 16 cookies (depending on the size of your cutters)

1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain soymilk

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of both)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

spice blend:
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and soymilk. The molasses and soymilk won’t really blend with the oil but that’s ok.

Sift in all of the other dry ingredients, mixing about half way through. When all of the dry ingredients are added, mix until a stiff dough is formed. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or up to 3 days in advance. If you chill longer than an hour you may want to let it sit for 10 minutes to warm up a bit before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and use a thin spatula to gently place on cookie sheets. If you are using them to decorate a tree or something, remember to punch a hole in their heads (!) before baking. Bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cool before icing.

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