The recipe below can be found on my friend Amy Andrew's blog here; I am copying it so that the recipe and directions are in one place as well as the fact that I made a few changes and added some comments.
Although I was never a big fan of gingerbread, I have to say that I have acquired a taste for it. Using wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour and brown rice syrup makes it a bit easier to rationalize as well. Try the super-easy recipe for the icing as well. Happy Holidays!
Gingerbread Cookies (adapted from a recipe by Amy Andrews of Amy's Food Room)
makes approximately 3 dozen 5 inch cookies
3 cups whole wheat white, or whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) organic unsalted butter
1 cup organic blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup sucanat (or substitute additional dark brown sugar)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or agave nectar
1. Mix flours, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and salt in bowl.
2. Cream butter first, then add sugars and molasses, making sure to scrape down the sides. Beat until fluffy. Beat in the eggs until well blended.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix to combine, being careful not to mix very much. Dough will be soft.
4. Lay out 3 sheets of plastic wrap and place 1/3 of the dough in the middle of each sheet. This is an important step because the recipe makes so much. If you only use 2 discs, you may not be able to roll it thin enough. Pat into a disk shape and wrap in plastic. Chill dough until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 350ºF Convection Bake). Roll out one disk of dough at a time on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Dip cutter into a little pile of flour on your work surface then cut dough shapes and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Leave on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to racks to cool. Gather scraps and re-roll. Try to reduce the amount of time rerolling or the cookies will be tough (but will still taste good!).
Place icing into a plastic ziploc bag with the tip cut off. This makes it very easy for little hands to decorate!Royal Icing/Paste
I know there is a fancier way to do this but for me, I like easy. I just mix sugar and water to create a paste. It dries quickly and allows children to decorate the gingerbread men with candies, sprinkles or non-parels.
Once you are ready to decorate, mix 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with 1 Tbl cold water with a whisk. Keep covered until ready to use. Brush onto cooled cookie with a pastry brush. You can also place the icing in a ziploc bag with one corner cut off and squeeze out. Immediately add sprinkles. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes. Enjoy!