Making Gingerbread Dough

Any finesse I may bring to mixing other types of doughs and batters goes right out the window when I mix gingerbread. I just dump all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir. You can see in the below picture that I even ignored my own instruction to lightly beat the eggs. I just plopped them right in. Why? Because this dough is very hard to ruin by overmixing. It has very little water in it (only the egg whites), and lots and lots of stuff to interfere with gluten formation…fats, sugars, burnt plant matter from the molasses, you name it. In all the years I’ve mishandled this stuff, it’s never once shrunk up in the oven or been anything less that perfectly rich and cakey when lightly baked, and rigid and crispy when darkly baked. It may be the world’s ultimate idiot-proof dough. Start by putting all your ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle…

…and mix until the dough is uniform, 3-5 minutes. It should be slightly shiny and putty-like.

While you can roll it immediately if you like, it tends to roll out a bit more smoothly if you let it sit for an hour or so in the refrigerator. So I pat it down…

…wrap it in plastic and let it chill before I use it.

This dough will keep for several days in the refrigerator, and can be frozen for several months if need be. This dough rolls and cuts very easily on a lightly floured board. Bake small shapes for about 8 minutes and very large ones for up to 15.

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