To me, nothing represents Christmas more than these gingerbread stars. While I've never gotten the hang of really fancy cookie and cake decorating, I love the simplicity of the unadorned stars. They remind me of something that would've been made at Christmas in the Little House on the Prarie books, or the Swedish Christmases that Carl Larsson painted.
The recipe I use is from an old edition of the New York Times Cookbook, and I've never had to change a thing. It's spicy and sweet, and the cookies come out sturdy enough to frost and decorate, should you wish.
Fit two baking sheets with foil or parchment.
2/3 cup (11 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup molasses
3 cups King Arthur flour , or other all-purpose flour ( you may have to adjust the recipe if using other brands of flour)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
Cream together the butter, brown sugar, spices, and salt.
Add the egg and mix, then add the molasses and mix again.
Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until the dough forms a ball of sorts.
Remove dough and pat into a disk. Chill for an hour at least. ( I keep this dough in the fridge for several days, so I can bake up cookies when I need them)
Take out the chilled dough and place on lightly floured board or counter.
Set oven to 350F.
Roll the dough out to about 1/3 inch or less (or more) and cut with cookie cutters, dipping the cookie cutter into flour every once in a while so it won't get too sticky.
Place cookies on sheet, and bake for around 9 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and bake the second sheet of cookies.
Carefully remove cookies from cooled sheets to a cooling rack. Decorate as you like.
This recipe made about 2 dozen medium large stars.