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Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The most important thing in my life is my family. I love my dear husband and 4 wonderful children (ages 11 through 18). I am a stay-at-home mom (my dream job!). Some of my favorite things to do include cooking (and eating!), photography, reading, piano, flute, watching my favorite TV shows, swimming, traveling, and most recently...using the rip stick with my kids. I would love to attend culinary school someday & fit my love of photography in with that somehow. My dream vacation is Italy - something I was recently blessed to experience! I'd love to return and see more of that beautiful and DELICIOUS country! My days are usually full of running kids to and from activities - scouts, sports, music and church. Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, but I absolutely LOVE my crazy life and the people I am lucky enough to share it with!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

GINGERBREAD MEN (from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN.  These make ideal holiday cookies when festively decorated with icing, but they are also delicious without any adornment.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, both sugars, and fresh ginger on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scrapin g down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in egg and molasses to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and shape into flattened disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Remove dough from the refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. (This will help keep the dough from cracking when rolled.) On a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. To prevent sticking while rolling, occasionally run a large offset spatula under dough, and add more flour. Place parchment paper and dough on another bakingsheet; freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, cut out with large cookie cutters. (If the dough begins to soften too muchrreturn to the freezer for a few minutes.) Using a wide metal spatula, transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are crisp but not darkened, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer parchment and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired with Royal Icing, if using. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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