In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and
In the bowl of your electric mixer,
with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar
until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well
combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half
in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least two hours or even overnight).
Preheat oven to
350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking
sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the
dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to
cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cookies onto
the baking sheet, placing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. If you
are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the
cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer. (If cookies are a little soft,
place the baking sheet (with the cookies) in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
This will prevent the cookies from losing their shape.)
Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the
size of the cookies. They are done when they are firm and the edges
are just beginning to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on
the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then
transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, you can press raisins,
currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are
still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the
cookies. Store in an airtight container.
Frosting: In an electric mixer (or
with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and well
blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually
beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add
the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4
minutes). Add a little more milk if needed. Tint frosting with food color,
if desired. Place
the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the
gingerbread men as desired.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the
size of cookie cutter used.