Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

I was in the mood for baking but couldn't decide what to bake. So I posted a question on my Facebook page and asked my friends what they were craving for. They suggested gingerbread cookies. Seriously, I'm just suck when it comes to shaped cookies. Most of my shaped sugar cookies turned out to be a big blob.

I've read many Holidays books to my kids as our nighttime routine. One of the books was Maisy Makes Gingerbreads. While I was reading it, Camden kept saying, "Ouuu, I want to do that!" After reading my friends' suggestion on gingerbread cookies, I decided to give the shaped cookies another try.

After flipping through Holiday cookbooks, I decided on a recipe that might work. The cookies turned out better than I expected. Very tasty. The shapes? Well, not so much. But as long as they tasted great, right? Plus, it was my kids' homeschool baking activity. Lotsa fun for us.

I used my food processor to mix the cookie dough. But the dough can be mix by hands. I only use a food processor because Camden was helping me. It was more fun for him to "pulse" the dough with faster result and with less mess. Keep in mind that I used cold butter in this recipe. If you cannot have cow's milk, substitute the cold butter with cold (but not hard) coconut oil. The reason for cold ingredients is the make sure the dough is easy to work with. I made this cookie dough the same I'd make pie dough.

Gingerbread Cookies
makes a lot of cookies, depending on the shapes
adapted from Good Housekeeping The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share

3/4 cup (5.3 oz) sugar
1 1/4 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 (10 oz) all purpose flour, extra for dusting
1/2 cup (4 oz) cold butter, cubes
1 egg, cold
1/4 cup (3 oz) molasses 
  1. In a food processor, add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and flour.
  2. Pulse 5 times to combine.
  3. Add the cold butter.
  4. Pulse 15 to 20 times until the dough resembles small pebbles.
  5. Add the egg and molasses.
  6. Pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
  7. If using the dough right away, place it between two parchment papers.
  8. Sprinkle the all purpose flour onto the dough then roll it out to a quarter inch thick. Tip: I use dough rings or rolling pin spacer bans to make sure the rolled out dough has exact thickness for even baking.
  9. Place the all purpose flour in a bowl. Dip the cookie cutters into the flour to ensure the dough won't stick onto the cookie cutters.
  10. Press the cookie cutters into the dough and then left them up without disturbing the patterns.
  11. Freeze the dough for at least 20 minutes. NOTE: Keep in mind that if the cookies don't hold the shapes when baked, freeze the next batch longer.
  12. Repeat the steps with the remaining dough or keep the dough in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for three months.
  13. Preheat the oven at 325°F degree.
  14. Take the dough out of the freezer when it is ready to bake.
  15. Using a large spatula (or a fish turner), take out the dough around the cookie patterns.
  16. Clean the flour or specks of dough with a fine pastry brush.
  17. Bake the cookies exactly 12 minutes.
  18. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack.
  19. Once the cookies are completely cool, decorate them with icing (recipe followed).
Cookie Icing
1/4 cup (1 oz) powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoon cold water
Natural sprinkles (optional)
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together into a thick paste.
  2. To decorate a cookie, drop a teaspoon of icing onto the cookie and spread it with a spatula.
  3. Add the natural sprinkles if using.

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