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It has become a family tradition
each year that I bake gingerbread men and women to use as place cards on the table Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. These can be baked ahead and frozen without decoration and are quite tasty.
I use Betty Crocker tubes of red and green frosting to pipe names and minimal decorations on each gingerbread person: collars and ties for the men and holly for the women.
2/3 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco which now comes in bars)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
Cream the vegetable shortening and sugar until smooth.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients while continuing to mix. Batter gets very thick so a stand mixer works best.
Knead mixture on a board until it forms a ball.
Roll dough out, dusting the surface with flour to prevent sticking. You can roll between two pieces of extra wide plastic wrap, flipping it over during the process and dusting lightly with flour. I invested in a silicone pastry mat from the Williams Sonoma Outlet Store and it works beautifully.
Cut with cookie cutters and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 7-10 minutes at 375'.
To hang on tree, make a hole in head of gingerbread man before baking. Re-roll leftover dough to cut more cookies.
Recipe can be doubled and cookies freeze well.
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