GingerDoodz: Gourmet’s Favorite Gingerbread Men

Yesterday I was a baking maniac, working to finish working on the remainder of my 12 Days of Cookies, belatedly.  With our bedroom in decent order, and the family room beginning to resemble a place where we can relax again, I was able to put in a full day while the resident hunkster kept one eye on the television and football, and worked through his honey-do list — laundry included.

I asked my 16-year-old to design some faces for Gingerbread Men, one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies from December 1959.  Of course you’d never find gingerbread men looking like this in the time of “Leave it to Beaver,”   so I’m thinking Gingerdoodz would be more appropriate.

Well, except for the one I designed.

He’s a bit on the happy side…or just plain loopey.  After all, no one sane would wear an outfit like that, would they?  Definitely a candidate for “What Not to Wear.”

But every group needs a cheerleader, right?

OMG. Why do I have to be next to that guy?

Gingerbread Men

Here’s the recipe as it appears at Gourmet…

This was neither the first nor the last time that Gourmet ran a recipe for gingerbread men, but interestingly, we needed to tweak these a bit; it was, after all, the age before recipes were tested. We suggest switching to all-purpose flour (same amount) and reducing the baking powder to 1 1/2 teaspoons in order to prevent the cookies from puffing out of their iconic shapes. Why, then, stick with this recipe rather than a later one that already had the kinks worked out? When it came down to it, we were totally taken with their right-on-the-money classic flavor, which only improves with age.

This is just one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008.  Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.

Into a bowl sift 2-3/4 cups cake flour. Add 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 scant tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each of cloves and ginger, both ground, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Sift the mixture. In another bowl combine 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup dark molasses, 1/2 cup butter, 1 beaten egg, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and mix all together well. Stir the brown-sugar mixture into the dry mixture and knead until all the flour has been worked in. Divide the dough and roll it, half at a time, into a sheet 1/3 inch thick. Cut out
the gingerbread men with a floured cutter. Transfer the forms to a buttered baking sheet and use pieces of seedless raisins and candied fruits or nuts to make the eyes, nose, and mouth. Bake the gingerbread men in a moderately hot oven (375° F.) for 12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. The gingerbread men may be hung on the Christmas tree.

IMG_7917First botched attempt to work with dough...

Refrigerated dough is much easier to work with.Bend the shapes to have some fun with them.

The office crank.

My Usual Notes:

  • I made the recipe exactly as written — including the cake flour.  The dough is very, very soft, and refrigerating it helps only a little.
  • For best results (because the dough is really delicious…) roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and put in the freezer until very firm.  Remove one layer of plastic and press your shapes into the dough.  Place on a baking sheet and return to the freezer for firm up some more.  When firm, turn upside down on baking sheet, remove plastic, and peel away excess dough.  Your shapes are ready to pop into the oven!
  • Another option is to work with the dough on a heavily floured surface.  The dough can handle the extra flour.  You’ll still need to put the shapes in the fridge to be able to get them onto a baking pan.
  • A full recipe makes 6 giant Gingerdoodz, with a bit of excess dough you can make some small stars with if you’d like.
  • To decorate, royal icing works just fine.  I like mine with a bit of vanilla, but that does keep the icing from being pure white.
  • Make sure to keep your Gingerdoodz about 1/3″ if you’d like them a bit chewy.  Let them cool on the pans for a while before trying to transfer to a baking rack to cool completely before decorating.

My cookie baking buddies have been done with their cookies for days, but their fancy work can still be admired:  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants.  I know they’ve got something delicious just waiting for you!

Invasion of the GingerDoodz

It’s all fun and games until…

OH NOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somebody breaks his leg.  “Help meeeeee Mr. Wizard!”

Is it me, or is there something just a bit creepy about these guys?

I know I didn't wipe my face. You wanna make something of it?