Mix thoroughly in bowl:
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup water
Stir together in another bowl:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon ginger [I usually get crazy with the ginger and amp it up to 2 teaspoons. Mother knows best.]
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Mix the dry ingredients into molasses mixture.
Chill [dough - but you could chill, too] 2 to 3 hours.
Heat over to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Divide dough into 3 portions. (Place 2 portions of dough in refrigerator until ready to use.) On a lightly floured board [or your entire kitchen table], roll out dough with floured rolling pin. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. (For easiest rolling, use a lightly floured cloth-covered board and rolling pin).
Cut with a gingbread-boy cutter dipped in flour [or whatever shape says "happy holidays" or "eat me!" to you]. With wide spatula, carefully place gingerbread boys on prepared baking sheet [or you will be cussing these ginger gents].
After your little boys are lined up on the baking sheet, add eyes and buttons of raisins, red cinnamon candies or bits of gumdrops. And for boys that are running, carefully push up a leg on each. Dough arms, turned up at an angle, make boys that wave "hello" as they come out of the oven. [um, is this disturbing you, too? thanks, Betty for warping a Christmas tradition].
Bake 10 [for softer cookys] to 12 [for crisper cookys] minutes.
Cool slightly, then carefully remove from baking sheet. Cool on wire rack. Make outlines for collar, cuffs, belt and shoes with creamy frosting.
Makes about 15 Gingebread Boys [why, oh why must we be so sexist when naming cookies?!]
[my family, abstract and in gingerbread, left to right: margie, ben, heidi & tom]
Do a good deed. Put some orphans in your cookie jar!