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Gingerbread Men

I have been wanting to do something christmas-y lately so I decided gingerbread men would be just the thing. John just finished his final project and is at his jury this morning. So, I wanted to do something fun together last night as we haven't seen much of each other this semester, or at least he hasn't had enough time to waste on something like cookie decorating. So, he decorated half of these, my favorite of which is the skeleton. The icing is simple and I opted not to use color because I couldn't find any that was natural. I found a few hints about different ways to tint icing natuarally with things like pomagranate juice, cranberry concentrate, spirulina powder for green, tumeric for yellow etc. But that was WAY too much work even for me, as I didn't even know if the icing itself would work and set up the way I wanted it to. Here is the recipe below if you are ever bored during the holidays and want to sequester yourself in the kitchen.

Gingerbread Men

½ cup cane sugar
scant ½ cup canola oil
½ cup molasses
¼ cup orange or apple juice concentrate
1 ½ tsp minced fresh ginger
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice

Preheat to 350. Combine all ingredients in the order listed. Mix until dough comes together. Divide dough in half. Form into a fat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 2 hours. Roll one half out on parchment paper a little thicker than ¼ inch. It’s really important that they aren’t too thin, otherwise when baked they turn out really, really crunchy. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-11 min until slightly brown at the edges and puffed. Cool completely on a rack.

Place 1 cup confectioners sugar in a bowl and drizzle water in little by little whisking until the consistancy is that of toothpaste. You wont need hardly any water. If you put too much water in, just add a little more sugar until it’s thick enough. Place in a freezer ziploc bag and push to one corner. Place in the refridgerator until ready to use and a bit firmer. Cut a TINY bit off the end of the bag to for the icing to pipe out of. Go at it.

To make Cookies instead of gingerbread men:
Roll chilled dough into balls and flatten a bit and press the tops in sugar. Bake 12 min on parchment paper. These are AMAZING. Better than the men for sure because they are so much thicker, but the men are still cute if want to do that kind of thing. A good idea would be to do half of the dough as gingerbread men and the other half as cookies


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