Day 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Well, we made it through the 1st day…Any type of cut-out cookies has never been my specialty, which is why I thought starting off with them would be a good challenge.  Plus, we’ve never made gingerbread dough before, so that was a first.  The dough made alot of cookies (roughly 70).   We learned after the first batch, they do not require the 13-15 minutes of cooking time, more like 10.  The taste was a midle gingerbread, just enough without being overpowering of ginger and molasses.  As for the frosting, we opted for a simple powdered sugar recipe that included corn syrup, milk and vanilla.  It came out very runny and now we will consider using a Royal Icing Recipe in the future for a more cleaner and professional look.

Next up:  Thumpbrint Jam Cookies

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Gingerbread Men Cookies from Southern Living (http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/christmas-cookie-recipes-00417000083969/page2.html)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Parchment paper
  • Royal Icing or Buttermilk Frosting
  • Assorted candies
  • Assorted decorator sugar crystals

Preparation

  1. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until fluffy.
  2. Stir together baking soda and 1/4 cup hot water until dissolved; stir in molasses.
  3. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with molasses mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Shape mixture into a ball; cover and chill 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough with a 4-inch gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).
  6. Spoon Royal Icing into a small zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole; pipe faces on cookies, or spread cookies with Buttermilk Frosting. Decorate cookies as desired with candies and sugar crystals.
  7. Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies: Prepare recipe as directed, cutting dough with a 1- to 2 1/2-inch snowflake-shaped cutter. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 13 to 17 minutes. Cool and decorate as directed.

Makes: about 9 dozen. Hands-on time: 1 hr.; Total time: ,4 hr., 50 min. including icing and frosting.   Print (recipe)

Royal Icing from Southern Living (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/royal-icing-00420000008167/)

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 to 8 Tablespoons warm water

Preparation

  1. Beat first 2 ingredients and 6 Tbsp. water at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at high speed 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add up to 2 Tbsp. additional water, 1/4 tsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Print (recipe)
Note:*Use less water for a stiff icing perfect for attaching cookies to cake stands. Use more water for thinner icing suitable for piping delicate designs on cookies.*You can freeze the gingerbread batter up to a month before a party. Freeze in zip-top plastic bags.

*Royal Icing dries rapidly. Work quickly, keeping extra icing tightly covered at all times. place a damp paper towel directly on surface of icing (to prevent crust from forming) while icing cookies.

Buttermilk Frosting from Southern living (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/buttermilk-frosting-00420000008164/)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons buttermilk

Preparation

  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Slowly beat in vanilla and 4 Tbsp. buttermilk. Increase speed to medium, and beat until smooth. If desired, beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, 1 tsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Print (recipe)
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