I mentioned in my first Little Women post that Jo celebrates Christmas while living away from home for the very first time. She loves New York but is a little homesick…until a box of homemade gifts arrives from home, delicious bits of crunchy gingerbread among them! This recipe from Taste of Home is jut the sort of sweet, fragrant, gently spicy cookie that would warm my heart and lift my spirits if I were Jo March. And to make them even more in keeping with our Little Women theme, I decided to decorate my cookies to look like the March sisters!
NOTE: The dough needs to chill for at least 4 hours before baking.
Little Gingerbread Women
“The things were just what I wanted, and all the better for being made instead of bought. Beth’s new ‘ink bib’ was capital, and Hannah’s box of hard gingerbread will be a treasure. ”
— Little Women
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (the original recipe calls for a full cup, but I like it better with less)
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- You can use whatever you want to decorate. You can buy pre-made icing, whip up your own and dye it the colors you want, or skip icing entirely and just use food pens. Here’s a picture of what I used.
Makes approx. 5 dozen cookies
- In a medium bowl, stir together your flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer, beat your butter and sugar on medium speed until creamed and fluffy. Beat in the egg and molasses until fully combined. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350° and lightly flour a flat surface. Remove your gingerbread dough from the refrigerator and grab a wad of dough about the size of a baseball. It will be very stiff, so knead it into a ball until it’s soft.
- Roll out the dough on your floured surface until it’s about 1/8″ thickness, regularly reflouring the surface and flipping the dough.
- Using a stencil or a cookie cutter, cut out your gingerbread women. I used a stencil I found online. If necessary, knead and roll more dough until you have 16 gingerbread women.
- On two ungreased cookie sheets, lay your gingerbread women about 2″ apart. You should be able to fit about 8 per sheet. Since I planned to have my “Meg” cookies wear their hair in buns, pressed a ball of dough the size of a pea against the top of the head for 2 gingerbread women on every pan (that would be 1 out of every 4 cookies, since there are 4 March sisters).
- Bake your cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Allow them to cool on the sheets for 2 minutes. Then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
- Repeat Steps 5-8 with your remaining dough.
- Time for decorating! As I said in the ingredients list, you can pretty much decorate however you want. I used mostly icing and sprinkles, but I used a food pen to draw the faces.
- Serve to cure homesickness and spread Christmas cheer! 🙂