Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

Yes, I know it's over two months since Christmas, but I wanted to share the recipe because it was a bit hit.  The previous Christmas Sarah said she really liked gingerbread, but I ended up baking too much else and ran out of time, so they never got made.  Flash forward a year and this recipe worked out so well that they're now on the official "family favourites" list!   Please note the wobbly letter on each of the big kids' cookies. ;)

I found this recipe in the little added baking cookbook that came with the December 2012 issue of Canadian Living magazine.  I looked at the various gingerbread cookie recipes in my library and this seemed like the most straightforward.  Many of the recipes require 2 kinds of molasses, corn syrup, etc. which I couldn't be bothered with.  I already had a container of "Grandma's Fancy Molasses" at home and it worked just fine.

  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) cooking molasses
  • 4-1/2 cups (1.125 L) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt

The original recipe calls for the first steps to be done by hand – seriously?  I used my Kitchenaid mixer bowl for mixing all the dough using the paddle attachment and saved myself a *lot* of grief.  First, I don't have a lot of strength in my hands and second, this ensured that everything blended evenly.  In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. This has been suggested by lots of other bakers before me, but spray your mixing cup with non-stick or lightly wipe with oil before pouring in the molasses.  It will make this step so much easier and the accurate amount ends up in the dough.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, baking powder and salt; mix slowly into molasses mixture in 3 additions.  Divide the dough into thirds, then shape into flat rectangles. Wrap each and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.  I took my dough out of the fridge about 10-15 minutes before I started to roll it out, just to get it to room temp and make it a little more pliable.

Between parchment paper, roll out each rectangle to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. The recipe suggested using large, 5" inch gingerbread boy cookie cutters, which would yield 20 large cookies.  I used my regular Christmas cookie cutters (boy, candycane and mitten) and ended up with around 4 dozen cookies, give or take.  You can also collect the scraps, re-chill and cut them out again.  I was so impressed with how easy this dough was to work with - it didn't break up, it cut cleanly and the recut scrap cookies even baked perfectly.

Arrange the cookies 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  They do not spread while baking, so this is plenty of space.  Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven until firm to the touch and light golden on edges, about 12-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so that they don't overbake.  Transfer to racks and let cool completely before storing or icing.

I didn't decorate my cookies until the morning after baking and the "kids" told me they were much more tender after a night's rest in a plastic container.  Rather than make my own royal icing, which is not that hard to do, but since I was running out of time and steam at this point, I copped out and used purchased cookie icing, along with tubes of coloured gel icing.


Images courtesy Google.com

While the icing was wet, I went to town with lots of sprinkles and made boys and girls out of the "boy" shape, along with the initial mittens and trees you can see above.  The big kids loved them and I heard that the cookies that I sent with them to other holiday events where also appreciated by everyone.  I'll make sure next year to leave lots of time to bake these in advance.

No comments:

Post a Comment