Monday, December 1, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

This is going to be a full week of gingerbread, people. You have been warned! 'Tis totally the season, y'all.

So, this past weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving and while our trousers were still unbuttoned (you know, from being so full of food), we started decorating for Christmas. I love decorating for Christmas because of the fairy lights. I wish I could keep them up all year round, but I think that they'd lose their glamour a little.

Anyway, for once in my life, I planned ahead and made something for this blog to be seasonally appropriate on this blog. A few weeks ago, I got myself into a gingerbread mood and whipped up some cookies and some other treats that I will be sharing later this week. It's about to get really spicy in here. And today, it's all about gingerbread cookies, which are the quintessential Christmas cookie.
Ingredients [makes approximately 1½ dozen cookies, really depends on the size of the cookies]:
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
¼ cup butter, room temperature (½ stick)
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

icing
1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
½ to 1 teaspoon milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Start by whipping up the butter and sugar until creamy. Crack in an egg and whip up some more. Add a little salt and pepper, vanilla extract, and molasses.
Grate in some fresh ginger. I keep my ginger in the freezer and then I grate it, skin and all. I don't know what's so bad about the skin, especially when it's grated frozen. Use a microplane and it will grate up like ginger snow.
Give the whole thing a good whizz to combine.
Grab your sifter and fill it with the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and cloves. Sift all of the dry ingredients right into the wet ones. Give it another good whizz until the dough just barely forms. Don't over mix the batter.
Plonk the whole thing out onto a piece of cling film and wrap it up. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.
After the dough has chilled, it's time to roll it out. Dust your working surface and the dough with plenty of flour. Roll it out to about 1/4" thick and cut out some shapes using your favorite cookie cutters. I misplaced my gingerbread man so I went for hearts in multiple sizes.
I cut a notch out of some of the hearts so it could rest on the side of a mug. Who doesn't love a good biscuit with their tea? Anyway, lay all of the cookies onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in a 350F oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for a softer cookie or 15 to 18 minutes for a crunchy cookie. I prefer a softer cookie.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
In the meantime, you can do some dishes. We just got this cute little whale sponge holder. Isn't he adorable? My sister says it makes her gag because she imagines having the sponge in her own mouth.
Once the cookies have cooled, you can dig in or you can decorate them. Make a little icing by mixing some icing sugar with a little splash of milk and some vanilla extract. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of milk and add more, if necessary. I like a rather thick icing because it's easier to pipe and dries in an instant. Oh, and of course, if you want, you can add in some food coloring to tint the icing.
Use a piping bag or a ziptop bag to pipe designs onto these blank canvas cookies.
Start off simple, just to practice. And as you hone your skills, you can get a little fancier and more complicated with your designs. Baby sister came over to join in on the decorating fun and we ended up with some cool cookies along with some weird cookies. We used all sorts of sprinkles and a little colored sugar to enhance the cookies.
What do you think? I think we did pretty well. So fun right? And so delicious. The cookies are sweet and spicy and awesome.
This guy was just too weird. He didn't make the cut for the cookie photoshoot.
Get baking, people! It will seriously get you in the spirit. After all, Christmas is only 24 days away!
Here's the recipe page:

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