This is our family favourite. We've used this recipe to make people, animals, castles and tree houses. Your kids, no doubt, will have their own ideas. Go ahead - be silly. It's that time of year.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening , melted (not butter or margarine)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- In a large bowl, mix together the egg, molasses, sugar, melted shortening and baking soda. Beat well. In another bowl, stir together the flour and spices. Add the flour mixture gradually to the egg mixture, blending well. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.
- Cut the dough into about 4 pieces, and squash each portion into a nice compact ball, flouring it well. Roll out each piece on a well-floured surface to about 1/8 in. (3 mm) thickness. Try placing a chopstick on either side of the hunk of dough to use as a thickness guide for your rolling pin – it’ll help you (or your child) keep the dough evenly rolled out.
- Now it’s time to cut out your people. If you don’t have gingerbread-people cookie cutters, make cardboard patterns and cut around them with a sharp knife. Carefully transfer the cookies to lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 5 to 7 minutes – until very lightly browned around the edges. Be careful not to let them burn. Let them cool for a minute or two before moving them to a rack to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together all the icing ingredients until light and fluffy. The more you beat, the better the icing, so don’t worry about overdoing it. You can divide the icing into several bowls and tint it different colours if you want.
- Now the fun begins! Using a pastry bag filled with icing, decorate your creations in whatever weird and wonderful way you like. What I really mean is, whatever weird and wonderful way your child likes. At this point, we adults are superfluous – except, unfortunately, for the cleaning up. Place your finished creations on a tray until the icing hardens, then store in a cookie jar or plastic bag.