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Gingerbread Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water if rolling dough
1/3 cup water if you are modeling dough

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
a few drops of water
Food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in
molasses. Sift flour. Resift with all other dry ingredients. Add
the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in about three parts
alternatively with the water.

You may have to work in the last of the flour mixture with your
hands if you are not using an electric mixer.

For crude models (especially good when working with children):
Just roll a ball for the head, a larger one for the body, and
cylinders for the arms and legs. Be sure to overlap and press these
dough elements together carefully on a greased pan, so they will
stay in one piece after baking.

For cutouts: Roll the dough to any thickness you like. The best
way to do this is to grease the bottom of a baking sheet and roll
the dough directly on it. Now, cut out your figures, either by
using a floured cookie cutter or making a pattern of your own.

To make your own pattern:

Fold a square of stiff cardboard lengthwise and cut it. Unfold it
and you have a symmetrical pattern. Grease or flour one side of
the pattern and place it on the rolled dough. Cut around the outlines
with a sharp knife. Remove the the scraps of dough between the
figures, using them to make more men. Decorate before baking with
small raisins, candied fruit, red-hots, and marshmallows for features
and buttons.

Bake the cookies about 8 minutes or longer, according to thickness.
Test for doneness by pressing the dough with your finger. If it
springs back after pressing, they are ready to be cooled on a rack.

For frosting: Stir confectioners sugar and drops of water in a
small bowl to make a paste. You may add a drop or two of food
coloring to all or portions of the paste for color. Apply the icing
with a toothpick or a small knife to make caps, hair, mustaches,
belts and shoes.


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