One of my most treasured memories from Christmases growing up is making making and decorating Gingerbread men with my mom. We did it just about every year. I loved the taste of the cookies and the fun of trying to make little outfits on the gingerbread-people. We would fill a big old roasting pan with them and keep it in the garage where it would stay cool, until Christmas. Often times it would be nearly empty by then though, as we each in turn snuck down to steal some cookies from the pan...
This year I made the cookies by myself but did get help from three little boys decorating some of them.
Here's my recipe card for ingredients...
First you mix the dry ingredients.
Then you melt the molasses, butter and sugar in a small pot.
Mix it all together and add in the eggs.
Cover and refrigerate a couple hours to harden up the dough. This is important for ease of rolling and cutting. It's so much easier to work with cold.
When you're ready, spread flour out on the counter and grab a big ball of dough. Flour the top and your rolling pin and roll it out to about 1/8" thick.
Cut out your cookies and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. I like mine soft so I always go on the low end of the baking time, but you can cook them longer if you want harder cookies.
Let them cool on a rack then spread them on wax paper to decorate. I make icing by mixing powdered sugar and water with a bit of food coloring. Add the water in drops to the sugar. It really doesn't take much to get the right consistency. I make small batches so I can change colors often. Ice one cookie at a time and drop candies or sprinkles in right away so they will stick.
I decorated about half the cookies myself and saved the rest for our annual visit to our neighbor, Rita Heikenfeld, to decorate. She makes quite a nice set-up for the boys with all kinds of different sprinkles.
They each get their own tray and icing to work with.
By the end of the evening we only went home with about five cookies for Santa so, needless to say, we also had some pretty happy little boys with tummies full of sweetness.