My crazy and lovable cousin, Veronica, had this wonderful idea to get together to bake some cookies for many of her deployed friends from the USO. I loved the idea to bake up some treats and ship them to the troops in Afghanistan because if there is anything to be thankful for - it's our soldiers out there who are away from their loved ones. Veronica volunteers at the USO on a weekly basis and had knew about 25 soldiers who have been deployed. I thought it was a nice gesture to give a little something back to people who give their all for us. One of her requested cookies to make was to bake up a batch of gingerbread men cookies and decorate them with their army camo outfits using royal frosting. Cute idea right?
I had sketched out a couple of faces inspired from the gingerbread man in Shrek - laughing, smiling, sleeping, and the mad face. Veronica and I kept repeating quotes from the movie "Do you know the Muffin man?" "Eat me!" "NO! Not the buttons! Not my gumdrop buttons!" and I kept resisting the urges to bite the legs off the gingerbread cookies. These gingerbread cookies are a perfect holiday treat and I'm hoping our wonderful packages of cookies will be enjoyed by many soldiers. They will hopefully find humor and warmth to our many faced gingerbread men. Thank you again for all that you do, and we appreciate everything that you do for our service. These gingerbread cookies were amazingly tasty because the mixture of spices gave a nice holiday feel for them, and looked absolutely adorable, too.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon. baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the molasses and egg until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough out on a lightly powdered sugar work surface to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place the cookie shapes onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Decorate as desired.
We used the swirl method for mixing in the colors for the royal frosting. (Annie has a great tutorial that you should check out - it always helps!) I used wilton paste food coloring in moss green, brown, and taupe.
Here are some highlights from our baking day and the boxes that we sent to Afghanistan!
Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies
Day 3: Shortbread Almond Cookies with Guava
Day 2: Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Day 1: Cookies in a Jar