It turns out I don't actually own any cookie cutters, but I do have a little handheld wheel for cutting and crimping the edges of ravioli, so I used that for these classic, spiced molasses cookies. You can cut them into any shape that you like. Since my boyfriend is a type designer, I tried (perhaps foolishly) to cut out letters of the alphabet. The point is, whomever you give these cookies to will surely be glad no matter the shape.
Makes about 5 dozen (3-inch) stars
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using electric beaters), beat the butter at medium speed until it lightens and looks fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue beating for another 2 minutes. Crack in the egg and beat to incorporate, then add the molasses and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and stop beating once it is incorporated. Transfer the cookie dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, cover it tightly, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut out cookies in any shape that you like. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced an inch or so apart, and bake for 9 minutes. Let cool.
(Gingerbread cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for days.)
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