Introduction: Masked Gingerbread Men
This upcoming Christmas season will be a little different for many families. With lots of places on lock-down and the inability to visit family during Christmas time, I thought it would be fun to mail out some Christmas tree ornaments/cookies/stay safe messages to those that I love and wish I could be with during this season.
SO here comes the Covid-19 Masked Gingerbread Man, a message to stay safe but also delicious to eat or just fun to decorate the tree with.
Step 1: Recipe
1 cup (150 grams) *Shortening at Room Temperature
1 cup (150 grams) Packed Brown Sugar
200 grams Molasses (it is easier to weigh this item just pour it into the bowl, if you wish to use a measuring cup it is about 2/3 cup)
1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of water before placing with other wet ingredients
1 Tbs. **orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups (384 grams) All Purpose Flour (spooned/leveled/and sifted)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Measuring Spoons and Cups
Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
Step 2: Mix Wet Ingredients
Take the Room Temperature *Shortening and mix with the electric mixer until creamy and smooth add the brown sugar and mix in well, then add the Molasses and mix all 3 items until every thing looks smooth and fluffy.
Crack your egg in a separate bowl and add a dash of water to it and give it a good froth then add the egg to the sugar/shortening mixture.
Add the **Orange Juice and Vanilla extract and cream everything together.
* Shortening helps the cookie hold it's shape, yes you can use butter, but it has a lower melting point so the cookies may spread more quickly.
** Adding an acid helps the cookies rise
Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients
Spoon the flour into the Measuring Cup and level with the back of a knife, use 3 cups or measure 384 grams on a kitchen scale.
Pour the flour into a Sifter along with the rest of the dry ingredients and sift everything together into a bowl, also give it a good whisk to be sure all the spices are incorporated into the flour.
Step 4: Combine Ingredients and Chill
Slowly incorporate the Dry Ingredients to your wet ingredients, 1/2 a cup at a time, the dough should be a little tacky that is okay.
Divide the dough into 2 and place on saran wrap and wrap up and place in the fridge for a few hours or better yet over night.
Step 5: Roll Out and Bake
Preheat oven to 350degrees
After the dough has chilled roll it out a little bit bigger than 1/4 inch, cut out your cookie men and place evenly on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Don't be shy in using flour to coat the surface of everything, table, rolling pin, your hands, any flour left over on the surface of the cookie will disappear while cooking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes you want the cookie to be soft in the center with the edges just started to turn brown. They might not look completely cooked but they will harden a little more after coming out of the oven. After removing from the oven leave them on the baking tray for about 5 minutes and then put them on a Cooling Rack to cool completely before frosting.
Step 6: Frosting
Royal Icing is used on these cookies.
1 egg white beaten with 1 tsp. lemon juice, until frothy
Then slowly add in Powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time (pre-sift the sugar so there are no lumps)
You will use between 3/4 cup and 1 cup of powdered sugar until you get the thickness you desire.
I found the easiest way to the make the mask was to use a spoon the piping bag was more difficult for me, just place a blob (technical term here) in the center and draw the "strings" out.