This is Grandmother Jane Jentsch’s recipe that she made every Thanksgiving for over 30 years.  Everyone would get a table “placeholder” propped up on their drinking glass with their name written across their Gingerbread Boy.  I’ve posted PDFs here of Grandma’s original 3x5 hand index cards complete with her 1st grade teacher’s penmanship.  It includes a note to herself from 1973 to start using piped icing in a tube instead of homemade icing in a piping bag, and the original source for the recipe, Evelyn Rob. This is Grandmother Jane Jentsch’s recipe that she made every Thanksgiving for over 30 years.  Everyone would get a table “placeholder” propped up on their drinking glass with their name written across their Gingerbread Boy.  I’ve posted PDFs here of Grandma’s original 3x5 hand index cards complete with her 1st grade teacher’s penmanship.  It includes a note to herself from 1973 to start using piped icing in a tube instead of homemade icing in a piping bag, and the original source for the recipe, Evelyn Rob. Ingredients: Wet ingredients: 1 cup vegetable shortening 1 cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 cup molasses 2 tablespoons vinegar Dry ingredients: 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 tablespoon powdered ginger (must not be stale, check the date, these are Gingerbread Boys.) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground cloves (I grind a few whole cloves leftover from my Indian recipes with a mortar and pestle.) Extra flour for dusting Raisins for decorating Optional Icing: Not really optional since you need to write names on those boys 2 cups confection sugar Light cream or half & half sufficient to make a toothpaste consistency icing for piping.  Or get that tube. Tools: Grandma used a 5 inch gingerbread boy cookie cutter, available online That bench scraper that you bought for making pie crusts will be a big help Piping kit, or 1 coupling, 1 nozzle (with a #4 nozzle) and one heavy duty freezer bag with a twist tie to cinch off the top of the bag to prevent back- washing when squeezing. Cream together the shortening, sugar and salt.  Add the egg, molasses and vinegar and combine. Whisk separately all the dry ingredients then combine them with the wet ingredients. Chill the resulting dough, formed into a dome in a bowl, for 3 hours or so. Break out the rolling pin on a floured work surface, hopefully a cool one made of marble or quartz.  A cool surface makes for less sticking.  Use extra flour to dust the work surface and the top of the dough as you roll to about ⅓ – ¼ inch.  Use the cookie cutter to cut out the forms.  I found that leaving the cookie cutter in place while removing the scraps worked best.  Press in some raisins for eyes, mouths and buttons before baking.  Lots of the raisins will fall out so press them in well. Take the scraps and form and re-roll to get the most boys out of the dough.  You may get about 30 in all. Although Grandma says to place them one inch apart for baking I found that mine did not rise much and I could put them much closer.  No greasing of the baking sheet needed. Bake at 375 digress for about 6 minutes is what Grandma says, but I found I had to bake for 8-10.  It’s true that when you take them out they seem a bit underdone and rubbery but they crisp a bit as they cool. You will have to experiment to find the right timing given your oven and humidity. Remove and cool on a rack to prevent burned bottoms. For the icing, add some cream or half and half to the 2 cups confection sugar.  This needs to be thicker than you think – just about toothpaste consistency.  Fit it to your piping contraption and get creative after the cookies have cooled.  Hot cookies will melt the icing and ruin your calligraphy.  I found that a # 4 gauge nozzle spit out the icing at the right width.  Finally, PDF scans of Grandma Jentsch’s original 3x5 index cards from her recipe file plus her “names checklist” that she reused from 1998, 1999 and 2000…
Grandma Jentsch’s Gingerbread Boys
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