I was asked to bake gingerbread men to use in a Christmas program at our church on Sunday evening. They were well-received and eagerly devoured after the program. A few people mentioned they had my gingerbread recipe and I thought, "No, I don't think you have this one". Maybe I should have "fessed up" but I didn't volunteer that I made the gingers from a Betty Crocker cookie mix this time. It's a quick and easy way to make ginger cookies and they came out looking and tasting great. Spouse helped me tie red ribbons on them so they could be easily hung on a Christmas tree.
I do have a favorite gingerbread cookie recipe, which I'll share here, but why not take advantage of the cookie mixes when we can? The Betty Crocker gingerbread mix is only available at holiday time and it's not easy to find, but when the cookies are baking, the house smells just as wonderful as when you bake the long way. I don't think anyone will ask if the cookies were made "from scratch". People will be too busy eating them to care how they were made. Here's my favorite gingerbread recipe (besides Betty Crocker's):
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. dark molasses
1/4 c. water
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
Beat sugar, shortening, molasses and water in a large bowl on low speed until blended. Beat on medium speed 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle counter top with flour; turn dough onto surface. Roll dough with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick. Cut with gingerbread man cutter.
Lift cookies carefully with a large spatula onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate cookies with raisins or cinnamon candies (optional). Bake until set - 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool 3 minutes, then carefully remove from cookie sheet with a spatula.
Cool and decorate with frosting if you like. Makes about 1 dozen large cookies.