Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
*NOTE: The cookie cutters shown in the picture are no longer available.

Ingredients:
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened non-alkalized cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, gently stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice until well blended; set aside.

2. In a 4 1/2 quarter bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together shortening and sugar at medium speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the molasses, egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Gradually add half of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. As the dough begins to stiffen, remove the bowl from the mixer stand and add remaining dry mixture, stirring it in with a wooden spoon. When all of the flour mixture is added you may complete the blending using your hands. Blend thoroughly to form smooth, homogenous dough. Shape the dough into three flattened disks. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (or up to one month) before rolling.

4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out dough. Gently lift the dough scraps in between the cut pieces and save to re-roll. Do not attempt to move the cut pieces, slide the entire sheet of parchment onto a baking sheet. Repeat this process if you have enough dough.

5. Bake pieces for 12-14 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch. Carefully slide the parchment off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface to cool. Let the cookies cool completely flat. When the cookies are cool, gently lift them off the parchment. Store the baked gingerbread in a cool, dry place, wrapped or placed in a plastic storage container, until ready to use (for up to two weeks at room temperature or frozen up to 3 months).

6. Decorate with royal icing and sparkling sugar.
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