Friday, December 17, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies

Looking for the Giveaway Day Post?  Scroll down or click here to find it.  I realized I never posted a closing time - I will keep the giveaway open until 9 pm eastern time, so you still have time to enter if you haven't yet!

Thanks to everyone who has commented to enter the giveaway so far!  It has been a great response and I have loved reading all of your favorite cookies (and other kinds of desserts).  In light of the theme, I thought I would post a favorite cookie recipe of mine to share with all of you.  I have mentioned making gingerbread cookies a few times on the blog and was just making them last week, so I thought that would be a good one to share.

I love making gingerbread cookies because they are delicious and fun to decorate with simple piped white icing.  As you can tell from this picture and the one in my blog header, my favorite holiday cookie shape is the snowflake.  I have a great snowflake cookie cutter set that comes with smaller shapes to do cutouts - the package looks slightly different but I think it is basically the same as this one.  Now that I am looking on Amazon I see lots of other fun snowflake cookie cutter sets... I may have to get this one to add to my collection for next year!  I think one of the things I love about making snowflake cookies is that like snowflakes, there seem to be an infinite number of variations to how you can decorate them, making each one unique.

This year for the first time I have been baking cookies using these silpat baking mats and I have been so impressed by how they work!  (sorry, the pic above is from when I made our halloween cookies, I forgot to take one when I was making xmas cookies this year).  We got them as a wedding gift and they really work - you don't need to grease the cookie sheet at all, and when the cookies are done they slide right off the mat.  I have had so many fewer broken cookies this year, it really has been great.  Does anyone else have these, and if so have you used them for baking things other than cookies?  I am wondering if there are other things they work well for.

My mom and I seem to have a hard time remembering which gingerbread cookie recipe is the one we like to make.  I remembered having copied down one from one of her cookbooks a year or two ago but couldn't remember which one it was when I was up for thanksgiving... we made some from Craig Claiborne but they didn't taste quite like the ones I have been making lately.  When I got home I checked and realized I had actually been using a recipe from Rosie's Cookie book (a favorite local bakery) and made them again for Christmas.  They are crisp and rich but not too buttery, and taste to me like a traditional gingerbread cookie should.  Here's the recipe -

Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Rosie's Bakery Cookie Cookbook
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
Sift together dry ingredients in a medium or large mixing bowl.  Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl either by hand or with a mixer.  Add the molasses and egg to the creamed butter/sugar and blend.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Put the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap (or in a gallon sized zip-top bag) and press into a flat disc, the refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.  Dust your rolling surface and rolling pin and the top of the dough (it may be easier to roll out 1/3 or 1/2 at a time), then gently rollout to 1/8" thick (or slighty thicker if you prefer).  Back 8-12 minutes at 350 F until just beginning to color at the edges, then remove from the cookie sheet to cool either on racks or on a flat surface.  Ice to decorate (icing recipe below).

Icing for Cookies
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter (room temp)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-3 tablespoons of milk
Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla and a small amount of the milk.  Gradually add milk until the icing reaches the desired consistency - you want it to still somewhat hold its shape for piping, otherwise it will be too runny.

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