It just wouldn’t be Christmas without gingerbread. When I baked these today, Milo came into the kitchen, a gingerbread boy hanging out of his mouth, and said to me with the kind of extreme sincerity that only a 4-year-old can pull off when talking about cookies: “These are my favorite. Really, Mommy: my favorite.” (I can’t imagine from whom he picked up talking in italics; I really have no idea.)
Gingerbread Boys from Yellow Rose Greatest Hits
makes 2 or 3 dozen, depending on cookie cutter size
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup Mother’s brand molasses
1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso shots
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream together shortening, brown sugar, and molasses. Stir in coffee and set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Mix flour mixture slowly into molasses mixture, then mix until batter is smooth and shiny.
Divide dough into two portions and wrap each portion with wax paper or parchment and freeze for a half hour or chill in refrigerator for at least two hours. Take out one portion, keeping the other portion chilled until you roll it out. Let stand for 5 minutes before rolling.
On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out each portion to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. I like to roll this dough a little thicker than usual, which results in a softer cookie. Cut with medium-sized, floured gingerbread cookie cutters.
On greased baking sheets, bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks before decorating. Store decorated cookies in an airtight container with sheets of wax or parchment paper between the layers.
Gingerbread Boy Sandwiches: Roll dough out thinner: 1/8-1/4 inch. Use a straw to cut out “buttons” in the bellies of half of the cookies. For vegan cream cheese frosting, cream together 4 oz vegan cream cheese, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and beat until sugar is fully incorporated. Optional: stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger. Chill frosting until ready to use. Spread a thin layer of frosting between two cookies.