I remember my first gingerbread house. My Pre-K teacher Ms. Troast (no, not Toast) gave out empty milk cartons, graham crackers and icing that looked like glue and let us loose. My overzealous use of icing made the graham cracker roof slip right off the framework and into my lap. Sorry about my dress, mom! Little did I know that my little house was nothing like the real thing. So 15 years later I set out to make some true gingerbread. It turns out no one on this campus has a gingerbread cookie cutter – I can’t imagine why – so I stopped by Fante’s Kitchen Shop in the Italian market to grab some shapes. This recipe will make your whole house smell like Christmas. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 7-10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes (dough chills 30 minutes, time to ice)

Servings: Makes about 3-dozen cookies

4 cups white whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
large-grain colored sugar for decoration

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice milk

1.    Mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a big bowl, with a whisk.
2.    In a bigger bowl cream the butter with a fork until it is light and fluffy. Ass the brown sugar and continue to cream. _DSC0030

3.    Add eggs one at a time and then molasses, stir with a wooden spoon. _DSC0035
4.    Add the flour to the mix in 3 parts continuing to stir with your spoon or begin to knead the dough by hand – caution will get sticky. _DSC00415.    Separate the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic and chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
6.    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7.    Flour your counter and roll out the dough, sprinkling flour occasionally to keep it from sticking. _DSC00488.    Cut out your shapes and place them on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes. _DSC00459.    Mix confectioners sugar, butter and lemon juice in a medium bowl, add milk to create desired consistency. 10. Dunk cookies face down into icing and the sprinkle with colored sugar. Or use a knife to create designs, the rest is up to you! _DSC0062