Before I tell you about my first attempt at the cookies, let me tell you a little about what is happening with the #ZapposGingerbreadMan here in Austin today Saturday December 14 and Sunday, December 15 to spread a little holiday cheer!
"The Zappos Gingerbread Man, rumored to be running all over the city, will be bringing fun and a little weirdness to Austin. He was last seen leaving Las Vegas with gifts so he’ll most likely be leaving a trail of surprise and delight in his wake. Keep your eyes open all over town and if you see him, snap a pic and post your photos of the Gingerbread Man running amuck to Twitter, tagging Zappos and using #ZapposGingerbreadMan, and you just might be rewarded-aka free stuff! :)
Follow Zappos on Twitter for updates and clues on his whereabouts. It’s up to the folks of Austin to find him. There just might be goodies from Zappos.com for the good people of Austin who help capture this cookie culprit."
First of all, I had no idea what actually made "gingerbread" gingerbread. Turns out the main ingredients that differ from traditional cookies are: ginger, molasses and dark brown sugar.
My husband and I made these together (a rarity) and we had a blast. He ended up doing most of the rolling and cutting after I showed him how :) Then I took to decorating!
recipe slightly adapted from Food.com
Makes around 3-4 dozen depending on gingerbread cookie cutter size
3 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (very important!)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Molasses
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
Whisk together dry ingredients in medium bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat together dark brown sugar with butter and egg until smooth. Add vanilla and molasses and beat until smooth.
Slowly add in dry mixture until dough forms. (eventually I had to finish stirring with a wooden spoon as it gets thick and my mixer was angry!)
Cook's note: Original recipe says to let dough now stand at room temperature for 2-8 hours to make easier for rolling. My note is that if your butter was truly softened and room temperature it should be the perfect temperature for rolling and cutting as you don't want it too soft or it's impossible to get to the cookie sheet. If your dough is too cold, let come to room temperature at your discretion. Since you will only roll small amounts out at a time, I found the rest of the dough to be the perfect temperature whenever I rolled it out.
Roll dough out onto a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut shapes using cookie cutters before placing on parchment paper or a Silpat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and then bake smaller cookies around 6-7 minutes and larger ones around 8-9 minutes (don't overbake or they will be too crunchy and break easily).
Let cool at least 10 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to wire rack and cooling another 10 minutes before frosting and decorating as desired.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Disclaimer: Zappos asked me to participate and sent me some some goodies to help me bake but I mainly wanted to make gingerbread and all opinions are my own!