1 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup shortening
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 candy canes (about 5-1/4 inches)
8 whole graham crackers
8 red-hot candies
8 cake decorator hearts
In a small saucepan, cook the butter, brown sugar and molasses over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a large bowl; let stand for 10 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and cloves; gradually add to butter mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
For big bears, shape dough into eight 1-1/4-in. balls, eight 1-in. balls, sixteen 1/4-in. balls, sixteen 1-3/4-in. x 1/2-in. logs and sixteen 1-1/2-in. x 1/2-in. logs. Set remaining dough aside.
For bodies, place the 1-1/4-in. balls on three ungreased baking sheets; flatten to 1/2-in. thickness. Position the 1-in. balls for heads; flatten to 1/2-in. thickness. Attach two 1-3/4-in. logs for arms and 1/4-in. balls for ears. Do not attach 1-1/2-in. logs for legs; place separately on baking sheets. Add chocolate chips on each paw and on heads for eyes.
For small bears, shape the remaining dough into eight 1-in. balls, eight 3/4-in. balls, sixteen 1/4-in. balls, sixteen 1-1/4-in. x 3/8-in. logs and sixteen 1-in. x 3/8-in. logs. Position bears and logs on two ungreased baking sheets as for the big bears; add chocolate chips.
Bake small bears and logs at 325° for 11-13 minutes, and big bears and logs for 14-16 minutes or until set. Cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients. For sleds, use frosting to attach two candy canes to the bottom of each graham cracker; let stand until set.
Trim bear bodies so the bottom edge is flat. Using frosting, attach a big bear to the back end of each sled. Attach small bears in front of big bears. For legs, attach big logs in front of bears and small logs on top. For noses, attach red-hots to big bears and hearts to small bears with a dab of frosting. Let stand until set.
Pairs Well With
"They take a while but are worth it, because the teddy bears are so cute and taste delicious."