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Basic Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Gingerbread boys and girls are fun to hang on the Christmas tree. But so are pigs, birds, horsies, bones, boats and any shape a cutter can make. This is a good traditional recipe to keep on file.

3 cups flour, plus flour for dusting
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 egg
2/3 cup molasses, light or dark
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
Ornamental frosting to decorate

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the egg with molasses, brown sugar and melted butter. Blend the flour mixture into the egg mixture until all patches of white disappear.

To make rolling a snap, you have to part with the tradition of rolling out dough on a floured board.

Do this instead. Clear a flat space in the refrigerator. Get out a roll of waxed paper. Take a handful of dough and place it between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Not too thick. Repeat until all dough is rolled between sheets. Stack the sheets in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, remove one sheet of dough at a time. Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper. Using the palm of your hand, lightly pat the surface of the dough with flour. Replace the waxed paper loosely. Now flip over the sheet onto the work surface, peel off the second sheet of waxed paper and discard it. Dust the dough with flour and proceed to cut shapes with floured cookie cutters.

Place on cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees about 10 to 12 minutes. Combine the scraps and re-roll between waxed paper. Makes about 4 dozen, depending on size.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

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