Gingerbread Cookies

It’s almost that time of year again! For a while I’ve been craving a good, soft, homemade gingerbread cookie with that delicious icing and gumdrop buttons. The following is what happens when I have a day off, a great Pinterest find, and cool weather outside.

Gingerbread Cookies
Bake time: 8 minutes per batch
Bake temp: 350F
Yields: 2 dozen cookies

Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (golden, packed)
10 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
1 large egg yolk (save the egg white for the icing)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup molasses (fancy, not blackstrap)*
2 Tbsp milk (rice milk for dairy-free)

Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together dry ingredients, flour through salt, and set aside. In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together brown sugar and butter (or margarine). Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add molasses and milk, mix until combined.

Set the mixer on low speed, and add dry ingredient mixture slowly until fully incorporated.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions, and roll each portion between sheets of parchment paper until 1/4″ thick (no thinner*!). Cut shapes with cookie cutter, but don’t move them yet – place dough on parchment paper onto a cookie sheet or other large flat surface, and chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove excess dough and transfer cookies to cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper). Bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Cookies should be soft and stay indented when touched. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to cooling rack. When cool, decorate with icing and gumdrops, sprinkles, etc.

Notes:
*Pour a small amount of canola oil into liquid measuring cup and swirl around to coat before pouring molasses – this is a great trick I’m sure many grandmothers have handed down. Doing this means your molasses won’t stick to the measuring cup.
**Seriously, I went too thin on one batch and burnt them at the same time and temperature as the others. If anything, go thicker and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time. And don’t skimp on the time cooling on the pan either. Or in the freezer.

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Icing
1 egg white
1 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg whites on high in mixer until frothy; add lemon juice and icing sugar, and beat until thick on high.

Transfer to piping bag or Ziploc bag with tip cut off for decorating. Add food colouring if desired.

Use to decorate fully cooled gingerbread cookies. Add gumdrops, sprinkles, etc. to decorate. (This is the icing that hardens and is great for gingerbread houses and such. Don’t make it until you’re ready to decorate.)

 

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Original cookie recipe here, and original Royal Icing recipe here.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

My favourite thing to do around Christmas is bake, and I love baking sugar cookies because of all the fun you get to have decorating them when they’re cool! This is the best sugar cookie recipe I’ve come across so far, and it turns out perfect every time! Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Sugar Cookies
Prep time: 2 hours
Bake temp: 375F
Bake time: 7 minutes per batch
Yields 36 to 48 cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tbsp milk (use rice milk to make dairy-free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Using an electric mixer, beat butter (or margarine) and sugar. Add baking powder and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can using the electric mixer, and mix in the rest with a wooden spoon or your hands. Divide dough in half, roll in large balls, and chill (covered) for two hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease two cookie sheets lightly (unless you have non-stick ones).

On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the balls of dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and place on prepared cookie sheet about 1″ apart. Bake each batch for approx. 7 minutes. Cookies should not brown, but will be slightly golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to cooling rack.

You can decorate the cookies once they are fully cool – I usually let mine cool overnight just to be sure they are fully cool. Too warm and the icing will melt off the cookies and make a mess.

Enjoy!

This recipe comes from a Christmas cookie magazine from Better Homes & Gardens.

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