Gingerbread Bear Cookies

1 cups Margarine or butter
2/3 cups Brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cups Corn syrup (dark or light type)
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons Ground ginger
4 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoons Baking soda
1/2 teaspoons Ground clove
1 Egg (beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
Mini chocolate chips or pieces
Optional Royal icing to decorate

In a heavy saucepan, add brown sugar, butter and the corn syrup. Stir over a medium heat til the butter is completely melted and all the sugar dissolves. Pour mixture in to a mixing bowl, set aside to cool several minutes. In another bowl, combine together the flour, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda and the ground cloves. Add the egg and the vanilla extract to the cooled butter mixture, mixing well. Add to the flour mixture gradually and mix well. Divide the dough in to two equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours, or optionally, overnight. Once chilled, shape each bear by forming a 1″ ball, a 3/4″ ball, six 1/2″ balls and five 1/4″ balls. Flatten the 1″ ball to a 1/2″ thickness to form the body on the ungreased baking sheet. Attach the 3/4″ balls as the head, then flatten to about 1/2″ thickness. Attach the small 1/2″ balls as the ears, arms and legs. Use remaining 1/4″ balls for arms and legs as paws. Use the chocolate pieces as eyes and belly button. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove carefully from cookie sheets and let cool on wire rack. Use royal icing to create bow tie and other embellishments.

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