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Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

• 3½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
• 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• ¾ cup light molasses
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Measure 3½ cups flour; sift together with spices, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and mix on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add egg and mix well. Stop the mixer and add molasses and lemon rind. Mix on low speed to combine. Stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.

Divide dough into four parts. Wrap each one separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator at a time. Roll the well-chilled dough on a floured board or between sheets of waxed paper to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and carefully transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving 1-inch between each cookie.

Bake just until the cookies are lightly browned and set, 7 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Transfer from baking sheets to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating. Decorate as desired. Store in airtight containers.