This year was my first attempt at making gingerbread. I never really thought I liked it before, but always thought my Christmas cookie platter looked like it was missing something without those little men smiling back at me. I decided to try a recipe from Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes and everyone really enjoyed it. I am so glad that I finally gave them a try. Now, those little men will never again be left out from my holiday celebrations. Next year….little women to keep them company!
- 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3 2/3 cups (16.5 oz, 467 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 6 TB honey
- 2 TB orange juice
- 2 TB ground cinnamon
- 2 TB ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TB vanilla extract
- Place the dark brown sugar, honey, orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, salt and vanilla into a medium saucepan. Place it over medium high heat and bring it to a boil stirring often. You want the mixture to be quite bubbly and foamy looking on the surface. This will ensure that the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pieces of butter until completely melted. Stir in the baking soda and allow the mixture to cool until just warm.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the flour and combine well by hand or on low speed with the mixer. Divide the dough into to pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 1-3 hours. You can leave it in there for a few days, but it will be harder to roll out, so you may need to let it warm up on the counter for a bit.
- Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and knead it a few times on the counter. Generously flour your counter and the top of your dough. Using two 1/4″ dowels as guides you can roll the dough out to an exact thickness or you can do it by eye. For cut-out cookies I really like uniformity so I always use the dowels. Cut your cookies into the desired shape then re-roll the scrapes up to 3 times to get the most out of your dough.
- Place the cookies carefully onto silpat or parchment lined baking sheets. Place the cookies back into the refrigerator to make sure they are nice and chilled.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the rack placed evenly in the middle of the oven. Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes or just until they are firm to the touch. If you are baking more than one tray at a time you will need to rotate the pans from the top to the bottom halfway through baking. Decorate with royal icing and any other adornments you choose.
adapted from: Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes