Friday, December 23, 2011

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

It snowed about 4 inches here yesterday morning, I have all of my presents purchased and wrapped, family is gathering, and there are only 2 days until Christmas. I could not be more excited! One of my absolute favorite parts of winter break, besides Lucy, has to be cooking and baking for everyone. This is most likely due to the fact that I get to use my parents' KitchenAid mixer and gas stove. Ah's the little things in life.

These cookies are just the right combination of spicy and sweet, chewy and crisp. Whenever I need to make a dessert for a party or cookie plates to give to neighbors this is my go-to recipe. You can choose to decorate them however you like or just leave them naked. They are delicious and cute either way.

What treat do you look forward to the most during the holidays? 

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 + 1/8 cup Splenda
1/4 + 1/8 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F

Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl

Whip sugar, Splenda, butter and applesauce together (in a KitchenAid stand mixer if possible!)
Mix in the molasses and egg

Add dry to wet slowly and mix until just combined and smooth

Flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick, wrap in plastic, and chill in the fridge until it firms up (1 hour or so)

Once the dough has chilled remove the plastic and cut the disk in half, keep one half out and return the other half to the fridge

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, make sure it isn't sticking by periodically wiggling it around on your floured surface, adding more flour as needed

Use a 1 inch gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out your cookies
*Try to cut your cookies as close together as possible so you don't have too many scraps

Carefully place your cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart, they rise more than they spread

Bake each pan as you fill it for 5-6 minutes, this way you can keep cutting cookies while some bake

When you are done with the first half of the dough repeat the flouring, rolling, cutting, and baking steps with the second half

Let cookies cool, remove from the baking sheets, and decorate if desired

These keep best in an airtight plastic container

Servings 60
Per serving (1 cookie) 35 calories

p.s. I took the pictures for this post, what do you think?!
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