Williamsburg Gingerbread Cut-Outs

I found this recipe in a historical cookbook more than twenty years ago and I’ve never bothered trying another one: the cookies are spicy and soft and they keep well. The dough is sticky, however, so you need to roll it out on a day when you’re feeling patient!

1/2 C. softened butter (no substitutes)
1 C. sugar
2 T. cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 T. ground ginger
1 T. lemon flavoring
3/4 C. evaporated milk
1 C. molasses
5 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flavorings and evaporated milk and blend well. Add the molasses, and then the dry ingredients until the dough is thoroughly mixed. Wrap in wax paper and chill overnight (or it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days).

Preheat the oven to 350º. Working with about a fourth of the dough at a time, roll out to ¼” thickness on a well-floured surface, rubbing flour on the rolling pin as needed (patience, remember!) and cut out with cookie cutters. Bake 7-8 minutes on pans lined with parchment paper—don’t let them brown!—and allow to cool for a minute on the pan before removing them to a wire rack. Frost/decorate with the buttercream recipe included here for Sugar Cookies, and allow the frosting to dry/set up. Store between sheets of wax paper. Freezes well. 7-8 dozen.

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