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.
Bake time: 8 minutes per batch
Bake temp: 350F
Yields: 2 dozen 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.
*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.
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.)