GINGERBREAD MAN COOKIE RECIPEThis recipe produces a hard, crisp gingerbread, perfect for decorated cookies. To use them as hanging ornaments, use a straw to poke a hole in the top of the cookie before baking and later, after it cools, add a hanging loop.
5 cups unbleached, all purpose flour2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup molasses (or light or dark corn syrup)
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and baking soda. Set mixture aside.In a small sauce pan , melt the shortening, then stir in the sugar and molasses. Pour the tepid mixture over the flour mixture and begin beating. Mix in eggs, beating until everything is thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate it for at least two hours (or overnight), to mellow the dough. The dough is easier to work with if given a long rest. The cooled dough needs to be taken out of the fridge and allowed to warm at room temperature for a while before attempting to work with it.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll the dough to approx. 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick. Use cutters to cut as many cookies as you can, then gather the scraps together, re-roll them, and cut out more cookies until the dough is gone. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Always try to maximize the number of cookies you cut at one time because it will get harder and harder to work with the dough each time you re-roll it.
Remove cookies from oven and cool them completely on a wire rack before storing them in an air tight container.