VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
- 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Red paste food coloring
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, cocoa, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 3/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; reroll scraps.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Tint desired amount of icing red. (Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth.)
Using pastry bags and small round tips, decorate cookies as desired. Let dry at room temperature for several hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container.
Freeze option: Freeze undecorated cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw and decorate as desired. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Gingerbread Babies in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2012, p160