Ginger Bread Men
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 stick butter, softened
2 eggs 1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, and then add the molasses and vanilla extract. Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add to the egg mixture until evenly combined and a dough forms.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm. Divide the dough into halves and roll out each half at a time onto a floured work surface. Roll until the dough is -inch thick and cut out the gingerbread men. Lay them out on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Repeat steps with the dough scraps and the other half of dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the edges are browned. Decorate the cookies using icing, sprinkles, and other candies.
Maple Gingerbread and Cranberry Brie Bites
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup good maple syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
Rinse cranberries and place in a medium bowl. Heat syrup in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour over cranberries when syrup is warm, not hot, or cranberries may pop. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander, reserving liquid for later use. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in 2 batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour.
20 round gingerbread cookies, plain, undecorated
8 oz brie cheese sugar dusted cranberries
maple cranberry syrup
fresh mint for garnish
Assemble gingerbread cookies with one slice of brie, a light layer of the reserved maple cranberry syrup, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.