Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Tradition

    Mmmmm....Gingerbread Cookies are my favourite. Not a year goes by where we don't make a big batch. I've grown fond of the time I get to spend with my little guy baking and decorating these, and he's grown fond of the time he gets to eat the icing and the cookies.
    By the time the cookies are finished my kitchen is usually a disaster zone, and it's takes me an hour to clean every thing up. But we're left with delicious cookies in our tummies and wonderful memories to look back on.

Gingerbread Cookies:

Cookie Dough:
3 cups of flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (margarine will also work well)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses

Confectioner's Frosting:
2 cups confectioner sugar (icing or powdered sugar, sifted)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsps. milk or light cream
assorted food colors if desired

1) In a large bowl sift and whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.

2) In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand held mixer), with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.

3) Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.

5) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread man or other assorted cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cutout cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using them as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies using a straw or the end of a wooden skewer.

6) Bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes and larger cookies closer to 12. When they are firm and the edges are beginning to brown, they are done.

7) Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. When the cookies have completely cooled, decorate with Confectioners Frosting.

Confectioners Frosting:
1) In an electric mixer (or with a hand held mixer), cream the butter until smooth and blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sifted sugar.

2) Scrap down the sides of the mixer and the beaters. Add the milk and beat on high until fluffy. (Add a little more if it appears to dry)

Divide the icing into as many containers
as you want colors.

Remove a small amount of the corner from
as many resealable plastic bags as you have
colors of icing.

Fit each bag with a coupler and various
icing tips. Fill each bag with a different
color icing.

Frost the cookies, and let dry. Place in an
air tight container.
*The amount of cookies produced by this recipe is determined by the size of the cookie cutter used.

You may also like:
Gingerbread Cookies in a Jar
Gingerbread Pancakes
Gingerbread Pancakes in a Jar

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