Gingerbread Boys and Girls
Ring in Christmas With These Classic Holiday Cookies
These cookies are not only adorable, they are crisp, gingery, and delicious. In order to make about eighteen large (6-inch) cookies or three to four dozen smaller ones (3 1/2 inches), you need two boxes of cake mix, plus the add-ins. The tricks to rolling out perfect cookies are to use rice flour for dusting the counter and rolling pin, to keep the dough really cold, and to cut out as many cookies as possible from the dough without rerolling the scraps. Then, turn the scraps into free-form cookies by pressing them onto the baking sheet.
Place the cake mixes, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set the bowl aside.
Place the molasses, vegetable shortening, vanilla, and water in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the mixer, scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and add the egg. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the molasses mixture until smooth, 30 seconds. Add the cake mix mixture to the molasses mixture a little at a time, beating on low speed, until everything is just incorporated. The cookie dough will be very thick. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the cookie dough in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours, or overnight.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of rice flour on a board or clean kitchen counter. Rub some rice flour on a rolling pin. Divide the cookie dough into 4 portions. Working with one portion at a time, form the dough into a ball and roll it out about ¼-inch thick. Cut out cookies using gingerbread boy and girl cutters. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cut-outs to a baking sheet, spacing the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Press the currants into the dough using 2 currants for the eyes and 4 currants for the smile. Place 3 small gluten-free Red Hots as buttons down the center of the body, if desired.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies until they are lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes. The cookies may crack a little as they bake. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool for 1 minute. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely, 15 minutes longer.
Repeat with the remaining dough. Take care not to reroll scraps. The cookies will be best looking if they are cut from freshly rolled dough. Use the scraps to make free-form ginger cookies and bake these alongside the gingerbread boys and girls. If the dough seems dry and difficult to roll, gather it up into a ball and work in a little water.
Keep It Fresh! Store the cookies in a cookie jar or tin at room temperature for up to a week. Freeze the cookies, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag, for one month. Let the cookies thaw on the kitchen counter overnight before serving.
The Cake Mix Doctor Says
If you prefer, create a cookie smile with a little piped icing on the cooled cookies.
This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.