Gingerbread Men

Front of Hallmark card with recipe This recipe is printed on the inside of a Hallmark Christmas card my grandparents sent to me in 1964. The card included a plastic cookie cutter (like Tupperware, but not) which attached through the slots on the front of the card (shown at right). The cookie recipe was printed on the inside of the card, and the icing recipe was printed on the back. We made the cookies every Christmas almost every year since then. We would decorate them in intricate little outfits — overalls with striped t-shirts, bathing suits, shorts and shirts w/caps, the works! — and hang some of them on the Christmas tree. Our Beagle, “Dilly”, ate the cookies hanging at the bottom of the tree, leaving their heads dangling from the branches.

The original cookie cutter wore out years ago but the card — now stained and torn — and is a treasure in my recipe files. Notice the tape binding the edge. And the happy faces… I drew those during my “happy face” phase. 😀

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 beaten egg
2-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 tsp. salt

In large saucepan, cream shortening, molasses, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix well and bring slowly to boiling point. Cool. Add egg. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and add to first mixture. Mix well. Chill dough for 3 or more hours.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out gingerbread men with cutter (dip cutter in flour before cutting each one). Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes at 375F. Remove from pans immediately to cool on racks. When cool, decorate with Confectioners’ Icing (below).

1-1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1-1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp. cream
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter while slowly adding sugar. Add cream, salt, and vanilla; mix until smooth. Divide mixture into small bowls and add a few drops of food coloring as desired. Use toothpicks or small knives to decorate the cookies. If needed, thicken with sugar, or thin with cream.

About 4 dozen cookies.

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