The Joy of Cooking Milhouse

Boneless Gingerbread Children

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“Treehouse of Horror VIII”, season 9, episode 4

What’s the one food that could dissuade witches from eating your kids? Gingerbread children, of course. Especially if they’re boneless. If there’s a chance some sister witches will show up at your house this Halloween, it’s best to play it safe and bake up some of these cookies.

I’ve already covered this Treehouse of Horror segment (and I highly recommend you also make caramel cods for a cookie-tastic Halloween), so hop over there to read my breakdown of the episode. This classic gingerbread is a take on my trash cookies recipe and is a deliciously spiced treat.

Boneless Gingerbread Men
Makes 30 large or 40 small cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 4 teaspoons milk

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg yolk until well mixed.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into the butter mixture. Mix just until fully incorporated.
  3. Cover and chill the dough at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1/2 of dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a gingerbread cutter or trace a cut-out piece of thick paper with a paring knife and make the gingerbread children shapes.
  5. Place the cut-out cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. If you have time, freeze for 10 minutes.
  6. Bake until just firm, 8 to 11 minutes. Place on wire racks to cool completely.
  7. For the icing: Gradually add milk to the powdered sugar until the icing is thick but pipeable. Add to a piping bag or zip-top bag with a small hole cut in one corner and draw on faces and buttons.
  8. Serve to witches.
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