Tuesday, December 20, 2011
If you follow me on facebook or twitter you may have noticed that I have been spending a bit of time away from APT 2B. There was just too much exciting stuff happening without me back home in Seattle so I decided to spend a nice chunk of time with my family and friends out west this holiday season. So here I am, in the great Northwest making wreaths and pine cone garland and chasing my parent's chickens around the back yard. It is glorious. I get to cook and bake for all of my favorite folks who I don't get to see too often and I have had lots of time to tackle some of my favorite holiday recipes. I usually make these gingerbread cookies to decorate the mantle in our apartment, but they are just as good for tea time. Happy Holidays everyone, I hope you all get to spend time with the folks you love most.
from Simply Recipes
yield about 3dz, 3'' cookies
3 1/4c all-purpose flour
3/4t baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1T ground ginger
1/4t ground cloves
1/2t finely grated nutmeg
1/4t finely ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the molasses.
3. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. You may need to use your hands to finish the mixing as the dough is quite stiff. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
When you are ready to bake heat oven to 350°.
1. Place one half of the dough on a lightly floured board, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4'' thick if you prefer chewier cookies, 1/8'' thick if you prefer crunchy. Use a cookie cutter or stencil to cut out desired shapes. If you find the dough is too soft to cut into shapes, try refrigerating it on a sheet pan for a few minutes, then proceed to cut out your desired shapes.
2. Place the cut outs onto ungreased sheet pans or pans lined with silicone mats. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges have just barely begun to brown. Cool the cookies on the pans for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cook completely. Decorate as desired.
from Simply Recipes
yield, enough to decorate about 3dz, 3'' cookies with lines and dots or about 1/2 that amount if you are filing in the cookies completely
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1. Combine all of the ingredients and beat with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) until stiff peaks form. See this link over at Simply Recipes to learn how to cook this icing to make it safe for pregnant ladies, old folks and kids. I used the microwave method because I know my pregnant sister in law was going to eat these cookies and the icing turned out great.
Use a pastry bag fitted with a #2 or #3 round tip and the stiff icing to add lines, shapes and dots to your cookies. You can also use this icing to outline cookies you plan to flood completely, as I did with my clouds. To fill the clouds, simply dilute the icing with a few drops of water or lemon juice and fill in the outlines you've made. For more detailed instructions, I have linked to a video below.
- For detailed decorating instructions I have to defer to my girl Martha. I've linked to a video where Martha and Aisha Tyler decorate sugar cookies, but all of the techniques are the same. Fast forward about 1/2 way through to get to the decorating part.
- I've made the Martha Stewart gingerbread cookie recipe in the past, but I find that the one above makes for a chewier cookie due to the slightly higher fat to butter ratio. I also prefer this combination of spices which is a bit milder than Martha's.
- These make great cookie ornaments, just pierce a hole in the top of the cookies before baking, decorate and put them up on your tree (or mantle). Remember to bake the cookies thoroughly and the cookies will puff a bit so make sure to make the hole big enough to put a string through.
- I got my incredible, handmade cloud cookie cutter from Herriott Grace.