White House Gingerbread Cookies

White House Gingerbread Cookies

Start to finish: 1 hour (plus overnight chilling)

Makes 50 (4-inch) cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs, then the molasses. Set aside.

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add a third of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until just mixed in, then stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat this process with the remaining thirds of the dry ingredients.

Add both zests and mix until just incorporated.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, spreading the dough until 1 inch thick. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Break off a small piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. The dough is very wet, so add flour and turn it over frequently while rolling to prevent sticking.

Use a 4-inch gingerbread person cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Repeat with remaining dough.

Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet (you may need to use a thin spatula to move them) leaving about 1 inch all around. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, decorate as desired.

Source: Recipe from White House pastry chef Bill Yosses.