Gingerbread Men (or Ninjabread Men) by Julie Vision in the Kitchen
(Yield - about 4 dozen 3 inch ninjas)
1.5 cup molasses
3/4 cup shortening
4.5 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons ginger
1.5 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Step #1 - Preheat oven to 350* F.
Step #2- Beat together the eggs, molasses and shortening until smooth.
Step #3 - In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Step #4 - Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time into the molasses mixture. When all of it is added, the dough should be firm, but slightly sticky.
Step #5 - Cover dough and let it chill for at least 1 hour.
Step #6 - Roll out the dough on a well floured surface until it is approximately a quarter inch thick, then use a well floured cookie cutter to cut out your shapes. You may need to knead in a little extra flour in as you start, as the dough may be sticky. You want the dough to feel like playdough.
Step #7 - Place cutouts on a well greased or parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Baking time depends on the shape you use, so you'll want to watch your first batch to decide how long yours will take. Cookies are done when they are set and have small cracks in the top. Do not wait for them to look brown, as the dough is so dark, they will not 'turn brown' until they are burnt.
Step #8 - Allow cookies to fully cool and then decorate with your favorite icing and decorations. As I stated above, I tried my hand at royal icing for the first time, since I wanted a lot of detail. Royal icing dries hard like candy, so it won't smear/smoosh they way butter cream will. I followed the design on the picture that came with my ninja cookie cutters to determine my designs.