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1988 3rd Place: Gloria Heeter's Best Gingerbread Cookies

Author/Submitted by: Gloria Heeter, Chicago Tribune annual Food Guide Holiday Cookie Contest December 8, 1988
Servings: 24
Categories: Cookies / Desserts

Ingredients:
1  cup  Margarine
1  cup  Molasses
1  cup  Sugar
1    Egg
4  cups  Flour
2  teaspoons  Baking powder
1  teaspoon  Baking soda
3  teaspoons  Ground cinnamon
2  teaspoons  Ground cloves
2  teaspoons  Ground ginger
1  teaspoon  Ground nutmeg
    Currants, raisins, silver balls, and candy for decoration
1    Egg yolk, Mixed with 1 ts water
    Icing for decorating

Directions:
1. Beat margarine, sugar and molasses in a large mixing bowl. Add egg and mix well.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture; mix well.

3. Divide dough into 4 equal portions on a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and shape into a flat disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 8 hours, or freeze for 2 hours. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days.)

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Working with 1 disk of the dough at a time, roll out on a well-floured board, dusting the rolling pin as you work. Dough will be very soft and can be difficult to work with so work quickly and use plenty of flour. Using cookie cutters dipped in flour, cut into desired shapes. Put cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use currants or candy for eyes or buttons, if desired.

5. Bake until lightly puffed, 7 to 10 minutes. First batch may be puffier because they will have less flour rolled in them. While still warm, paint with egg yolk wash if desired. Cool on wire racks. Cool completely, then decorate as desired with icing.

6. Icing: Mix confectioners' sugar with a small amount of water until thick and spreading consistency. Add food coloring if desired and put in a small plastic bag. Cut a small hole in one corner and drizzle icing out onto the cooled cookies.

A 4-inch gingerbread cookie cutter was used in testing. Oak Brook's Gloria Heeter is a newcomer to the Chicago area and brings her favorite gingerbread cookie with her from Kansas City, Kan. "About nine years ago, my neighbor, Diane Collins, brought them over for Halloween in Halloween shapes," she says. "I took out some of the egg yolks and substituted corn oil margarine rather than shortening, which sometimes can have palm oil in it." Calling them "truly a cookie for all seasons," Heeter once even made them for her golden retriever's first birthday party. "We invited the neighborhood kids in for punch and cookies-cookies shaped like dogbones." At Christmas, though, "I typically print the names of each person on the cookies, place them in a plastic bag and decorate them with a red and green ribbon," writes Heeter of her personalized gingerbread people. "A handmade gift is always filled with love."


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