Gingerbread Men - 1959

This was neither the first nor the last time that Gourmet ran a recipe for gingerbread men, but interestingly, we needed to tweak these a bit; it was, after all, the age before recipes were tested. We suggest switching to cake flour and halving the baking powder in order to prevent the cookies from puffing out of their iconic shapes. Why, then, stick with this recipe rather than a later one that already had the kinks worked out? When it came down to it, we were totally taken with their right-on-the-money classic flavor, which only improves with age.
This is just one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.

Into a bowl sift 2 3/4 cups cake flour. Add 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 scant tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each of cloves and ginger, both ground, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift the mixture. In another bowl combine 1 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup dark molasses, 1/2 cup butter, 1 beaten egg, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and mix all together well. Stir the brown-sugar mixture into the dry mixture and knead until all the flour has been worked in. Divide the dough and roll it, half at a time, into a sheet 1/3 inch thick. Cut out the gingerbread men with a floured cutter. Transfer the forms to a buttered baking sheet and use pieces of seedless raisins and candied fruits or nuts to make the eyes, nose, and mouth. Bake the gingerbread men in a moderately hot oven (375° F.) for 12 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. The gingerbread men may be hung on the Christmas tree.