" GINGERBREAD COOKIE ORNAMENTS "

This delicious gingerbread dough is perfect for making ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree or wreath. You'll need a plastic straw or a chopstick for making holes; you'll also need narrow ribbon, cord, or yarn for hanging the cookie ornaments. If you like, use ready-made icing and your own tips to pipe decorations onto the cookies.

Ingredients.....

3 to 3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp BAKING SODA
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses, (not blackstrap)
1 egg
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1. In a small bowl, stir or whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the molasses and beat until well blended. Add the egg and vinegar and beat again. Gradually add the flour mixture, blending well after each addition. Gradually stir in another 1/2 cup flour. The dough should be firm but sticky, neither dry nor soft. If necessary, blend in some or all of the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into an inch-thick disk, and wrap each disk in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm enough to roll.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 1 or 2 baking sheets. Dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out 1 piece of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut with your favourite Christmas cookie cutters-gingerbread boy and girl, Santa, bell, angel, or others. Use a spatula or pancake turner to place the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gather up the excess dough for rerolling. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

4. Use either a plastic drinking straw or the end of a chopstick to make a 1/4-inch hole near the top of each cookie.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are browned; a few of the holes will close up, but most will remain open. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

6. To hang the cookie ornaments, thread short lengths of narrow ribbon, cord, or yarn through the holes and tie to the Christmas tree or a wreath.


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