Have the Cake" challenge was to make gingerbread men. While I love ginger cookies, I'm really not a big fan or rolled out gingerbread cookies... they are too dry and hard. Still, this recipe was rather decent (still not a fan, but almost!) and it had chocolate. Come on, you know anything with chocolate just has to taste better! Frost with royal icing, if desired.
Chocolate Gingerbread Men (and women!)
adapted by Vivian
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
Position racks in the top & bottom thirds of the oven, then preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease several large baking sheets, then set aside (or cheat like I do and use a Silpat!).
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder until spices & coca are evenly distributed, then set aside.
In a 2nd large bowl, & using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream shortening & brown sugar until smooth & airy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg & then the molasses.
Turn off mixer & add prepared flour mixture, then AT VERY LOW SPEED beat just until crumbly bits of dough form, but not until the mass begins to cohere into a ball.
With flour lightly dust a clean, dry work surface as well as your hands. Turn dough out & knead just until it forms a smooth mass, about 30 seconds.Divide into thirds & cover them with a clean kitchen towel.
With flour lightly dust the work surface again & roll one of the thirds to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Flour the dough & a rolling pin only as necessary (I like to use a piece of Cling wrap on top of the dough to prevent sticking).
Use a large gingerbread-man cookie cutter to cut the dough into the desired shapes, then use a metal spatula to transfer them carefully to the prepared baking sheet(s). Gather any scraps, lightly dust again with flour & roll out a 2nd time, creating additional gingerbread men.
Bake for 4 minutes, then rotate sheets top to bottom & front to back; Bake another 4 minutes, or until cookies feel dry but still are a little soft.
Remove from oven & cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Keep no longer than 2 days at room temperature, several more days in the refrigerator, OR up to a month in the freezer.
Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/chocolate-gingerbread-men-334306#ixzz1fjGb4r8u