Gingerbread. And holiday cookies in general. These are a few of my favorite things. We had a few more people to thank for all the wonderfulness we received from our little community after my daughter’s brief stay in the hospital. So, to round out the gratitude, I baked these little gingerbread beauties over the long Thanksgiving weekend for delivery early in December, before we all reach holiday cookie overload.
I tried to strike a winter/love ya theme for these cookies. I’ve always wanted to a do a classic snowflake.
The heart stands for all we hoped to express (a ginormous THANK YOU for hours and hours of babysitting and meals galore). And – once again – that robin’s egg blue and red with a droplet of orange made its way into my frosting palette.
The real showstopper here, however, is the gingerbread itself. Like turkey dinner with all the fixin’s, or bowling, whenever I make gingerbread, I wish I made it (or played it) more often. Good tastes and good times. This particular recipe I developed over a lot of sticky dough sessions and failed attempts to achieve that perfect, spicy, sweet, aromatic cookie “bread” that you can still transfer from the cutting surface to the baking pan. I think the key here is the lower molasses content (reduces stickiness factor) and the ramped up flavors.
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (packed) Muscovado sugar (deeper molasses flavor, found at speciality shops, but dark brown sugar is a fine substitute)
1/2 cup unsulfurized molasses
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl fitted with the paddle attachment (or use an electric mixer), cream the butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg and molasses, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape bowl and add the flour mixture. Blend on low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
4. Separate dough into two balls and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight (I prefer overnight).
5. When ready to use, let dough sit for a few minutes on a floured surface. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness and cut desired shapes with floured cookie cutters.
6. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 9 – 10 minutes. When done, gently pull the parchment paper (with cookies) to a cooling rack to cool.
7. For decorating, I use royal icing. If you would like a quick decorating method, combine 2/3 cup powdered sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons milk. Spoon the icing into a plastic baggie and cut the tip of the corner to create an easy decorating bag. Adorn with raisins, candy, etc.
Mmmm…I can smell yours baking now! Enjoy!