Recipe courtesy of Dan Langan

Gingerbread Cut-Out Dough

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This light and crisp gingerbread is alive with spice. This dough is based off of a shortbread cookie and will spread minimally when baked.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 35 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: Twenty-four to thirty-six 3-inch gingerbread men
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Ingredients

Directions

Special equipment:
3-inch gingerbread men cookie cutter (see Cook's Note)
  1. Mix the flour, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cloves in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer speed on low, begin adding the butter. Allow the mixture to blend until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixer looks sandy, up to 4 minutes. The ingredients should hold together when clumped in your hand. Add the molasses and vanilla to the butter-flour mixture and mix on low until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it about 20 to 25 times until smooth. If the dough is sticky, add a sprinkling of flour until it no longer sticks to your hands. Divide the dough in half.
  2. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until it is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (see Cook's Note). Use a VERY light sprinkling of flour on the dough if it is sticking to the parchment. Repeat with the second portion of dough. Chill the rolled dough on baking sheets until firm, about 2 hours in the fridge or 30 minutes in the freezer.  
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  
  4. Cut out gingerbread shapes and place the cookies on half sheet pans lined with parchment. Bake until the edges and center feel set and the centers puff slightly, rotating the pans from back to front and top to bottom about 8 minutes into baking, 11 to 12 minutes total for medium-sized 3-inch cookies (see Cook's Note). Allow to cool completely before removing from the parchment. 

Cook’s Note

When measuring molasses, I like to spray the inside of my liquid measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray to help prevent the molasses from sticking to the cup. When using a detailed cookie cutter, I like to bake these cookies one tray at a time so that the dough sets quicker and therefore loses less of its shape. Thinner dough will set quicker and therefore spread less and result in a crisper cookie. Dough closer to 1/4 inch thick may spread more and will yield a softer cookie. Smaller, 1-inch cookies will take about 8 minutes to bake. Larger cookies may take up to 14 minutes. The cookies will be pliable when warm and will crisp upon cooling. If your cookies have cooled and they aren't crisped to your liking, you can 'toast' them in a 300 degrees F oven for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp them up.

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