For the past couple days I’ve been sharing our family’s gingerbread house building escapades and recipes. Well, the houses are done; they look and smell fantastic but we never eat them. The gingerbread must be baked too hard to withstand the weight of the candies and frosting. So every year after the houses are finished, I bake Williamsburg Gingerbread.
Our family discovered Williamsburg Virginia when my sister’s husband, a Marine, was stationed at Quantico, Virginia. Williamsburg is only a couple hours away and we loved going for the day, experiencing history first hand with the kids. Our guilty pleasure was eating fresh gingerbread cookies while walking around the streets of this amazing town where our government’s founders walked and lived. You must understand our love affair with their gingerbread cookies. It was and is intense!
Every time we went it seemed I was on a quest to find the recipe for these cookies but was unsuccessful till the year in the early 1990’s when I found a recipe from a local newspaper. This newspaper had a contest to replicate the Williamsburg Gingerbread Cookies since they would not release the recipe; and I think this is about as close as you will get. They are moist, soft and chewy but, most importantly they are delicious! And, they make a fantastic gift for gingerbread lovers.
Williamsburg Gingerbread Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen 3 inch cookies
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg,(or ground)
- 2 tablespoons dry ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon lemon flavoring
- ¾ cup evaporated milk
- 5 cups unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- 1 cup molasses
Directions for Dough:
- Cream butter and sugar well.
- Add spices, lemon flavoring and milk, blend well.
- Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with molasses to make a smooth dough.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and flatten into disc about 1 inch thick.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
To Cut Cookies:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F conventional oven. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Remove only 1 package of dough at a time from the refrigerator.
- On a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with a 3 to 4 inch cookie cutter.
- Transfer cut shapes to prepared baking sheets.
- Use a dry pastry brush to dust excess flour off cookies.
- Bake at 350F for about 8 minutes or till done. Cookie will be done when it springs back when lightly touched.
- DO NOT OVER BAKE
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
NOTE: I like to bake only one or two shapes of this cookie to package stacked in cellophane bags with a bright red bow.