Active time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 10 minutes per batch
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus chilling, cooling, and decorating
Makes: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Gingerbread Cookie Dough
3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
2 lg. eggs
1/4 c. molasses
3 c. confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tbsp. milk
Assorted food colorings (optional)
1. Prepare Gingerbread Cookie Dough: In medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat brown sugar and butter about 3 minutes or until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs and molasses, and beat until combined. With spoon, stir in flour mixture until well blended.
2. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces; flatten each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll 1 disk of dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 4- to 5-inch gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; wrap and refrigerate trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on cookie sheet.
5. Bake cookies 10 to 13 minutes or until browned around edges. With wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
6. When cookies are cool, prepare Icing: In medium bowl, with fork, stir confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth and an easy piping consistency. If you like, spoon some icing into smaller bowls and tint with food coloring as desired. With decorating bag, fitted with small writing tip, pipe icing on cookies to decorate. Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry, about 1 hour.
7. Store cookies in tightly sealed container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature, up to 2 weeks or in freezer up to 3 months