Queen Elizabeth I of England is credited with creating this fun cookie in the 16th century, when she ordered cakes spiced with ginger to be baked in the shapes of her friends.
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
- In large bowl, combine first 7 ingredients, mixing well; set aside.
- In large mixing bowl beat together with electric mixer on medium speed the sugar and shortening until fluffy; add the molasses and water, mixing well. Stir in the flour mixture until just mixed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
- Roll about 1/4 of the dough 1/4-inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with a floured gingerbread cutter or other shaped cutters. Place about 2-inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Decorate with colored frosting, sugar and candies as desired.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen (2 1/2-inch) gingerbread men.