This Gingerbread Cookie recipe is a favorite at my house. I love the added orange zest in this recipe, and this dough can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a few days until you're ready to bake it. You can decorate these any way you like or make them plain - they'll be a hit either way.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar, beat together with an electric mixer until fluffy; beat in egg. Add orange zest, corn syrup, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt; beat until combined. Add flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition. Form the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator in an air-tight container for at least one hour or up to a few days before baking.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough, and roll out only a portion at a time, keeping the remainder of the dough chilled until ready to use. Cut out with cookie cutters as desired and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cookies can be decorated with nonpareils if desired before baking. The size of the cookie cutter used will determine how long to bake the cookies. For a 3-inch cookie, bake about 5 minutes. For 4-inch cookies, bake 6-7 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet. When cooled, cookies may also be decorated with icing if desired.
I used the smaller 3-inch cutter to bake this pan of cookies. Last year I made a batch of the 4-inch gingerbread men and packaged them individually for my grandson's kindergarten class.
After a few squiggles of white icing the gingerbread men are ready to run.