The Light Underbelly of Gingerbread

And what, may I ask, is so wrong with "light" recipes? Some people seem to have such an aversion to them. Like they're are all destined to be ghastly and taste like cardboard. I happen not to be one of those people. Granted, I tend to eat on the healthier side, but this doesn't mean I'm without a discerning palate. I generally believe one should eat well or not at all. On more than one occasion I have turned up my nose to some gas-station-procured-snack in favor of starvation.

So with that bit of background as your backdrop, I give you light gingerbread from Cooking Light's Gingerbread People Recipe. (Ha! Gingerbread "People" - how PC of them. But how awkward it seems it would be to offer someone a gingerbread "person.") No matter, I whipped the dough into cute little blue-frosted angels. Tasty! And the recipe worked well enough that a week later I made another batch into Gingerbread House Fronts for a cookie decorating party. I assure you, the palates at this party ran the gamut, and not a one asked if they were "light."

My recipe changes and alterations: I almost always sneak wheat flour into a recipe and this was no exception. I used about 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup wheat. I can never be bothered to chill something in the refrigerator for the proper length of time, so I popped the dough into the freezer for about 15 minutes. And because I like my gingerbread (people and otherwise) slightly soft, I reduced the cooking time to about 7.5 to 8 minutes. Perfecto!

Gingerbread People Recipe

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg

To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth and well blended. Add molasses and egg; beat until well blended. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until well blended. Divide dough in half; shape each dough portion into a flat disk. Wrap dough portions separately in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove 1 dough portion from refrigerator; remove plastic wrap. Roll dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut with a 3-inch boy or girl cookie cutter. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Repeat procedure with remaining dough portion. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Yield: About 5 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

CALORIES 56(14% from fat); FAT 0.9g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.2g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 0.6g; CHOLESTEROL 6mg; CALCIUM 10mg; SODIUM 27mg; FIBER 0.2g; IRON 0.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 11.5g

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