Making Christmas cookies is time consuming so I only make a few each year. I always make iced cut-out cookies (Steve's favorites) and these fat little gingerbread men because they are fun and tasty. The recipe comes from a December 1993 Yankee's Home Companion, a magazine that I think has morphed into simply Yankee Magazine. I'm not sure how I came to have my subscription it was so long ago. In any event, I have a couple of recipes from that magazine that I've enjoyed over the years and this is one of them:
Yield approximately 1 dozen very large gingerbread men or slightly more if you make them smaller
1 C. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice or ground cloves
1 C. sugar
1 C. molasses, dark
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp. instant coffee moistened in a little hot water (I use espresso powder)
5 C. All purpose flour
garnish: dried black currants (I use large fat ones from Trader Joe's that I prefer to the tiny variety sold at most grocery stores)
Pre-heat oven from 325 to 340 degrees
~Mix dough using wooden spoon ~
1. Cream first 6 ingredients;
2. Cream in sugar and molasses;
3. Add in beaten eggs and coffee (or espresso);
4. Add flour 1 cup at a time. After adding 3 cups stir in the last 2 cups by hand.
5. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
6. Form gingerbread men by using your hands beginning with the middle and then adding the head, arms and legs. The more individual they are the better. They should be quite large and quite fat. Do not roll these into thin gingerbread men as it will cause them to cook too quickly and be thin, dry and unappealing to eat. Use black currents to bring them to life and give them character! Jazz them up even more by using the same icing used for my Gingerbread House.
Bake approx.18 to 20 minutes. If you use the higher heat cook them for a shorter period of time. With my oven I set it to 340 degrees and cook them for 18 to 19 minutes. You don't want these to over cook as they are meant to be a moist cookie. I like to touch the surface and see if there is a slight spring back which indicates they are cook through. Cool on a wire rack.
After all the fires in California, seeing snow on the mountains is a welcome sight and says to me that Winter has finally arrived! It's not easy to see the snow (unless you "click" on the picture which enlarges it) but it's there and it's beautiful!
Tomorrow Mr Puffy and I go up to Santa Barbara to visit my parents for a few days. We will sit on the couch in front of the fire and drink cups of tea and munch on goodies - delightful! There is also a LYS within walking distance of their home - how cool is that?