Gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies are our family’s favorite cut out cookies. Both recipes are from Martha Stewart’s Christmas. I like to make the cut out cookie dough ahead of time in November and freeze it. During the busy holiday season, I don’t always have time to make the dough and make the cookies immediately.
This gingerbread cookie dough makes a sturdy cookie for rolling out. I like to roll out my dough about 1/4 of an inch thick before cutting since I like a softer cookie. Because the dough can be a little on the dry side, make sure you thoroughly incorporate the scraps of dough back into the dough ball before rolling it out again. This prevents layers from forming and flaking off as you work with the dough.
The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar. Since I prefer not to use brown sugar, I use all organic sugar instead. One cup of organic sugar allows the molasses flavor to come through and makes for a spicy cookie. You may prefer to increase the sugar by 1/4 cup to make a slightly sweeter cookie. Since we decorate our cookies, I find the sweetness of the icing balances the spiciness of the cookies.
To avoid the aluminum baking sheets, I line mine with a layer of parchment paper. As long as the parchment paper isn’t terrible stained, I will reuse it a number of times. Between uses, I keep it folded up in a drawer, always shaking the crumbs off before storing. I buy the Kirkland Parchment Paper; you can also purchase the Beyond Gourmet Unbleached Parchment Paper.
When icing the cookies, I use a butter knife with a wide end for spreading the icing. To create a lacy effect and other fun decorations on the gingerbread cookies, I use a Wilton Round #2 Decorating Tip or Wilton Round #3 Decorating Tip. If you want to add sprinkles, put them on immediately after icing the cookies before the icing has set.
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 4 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 T baking soda
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 6 cups all purpose flour
- Put the molasses, organic sugar, ginger, and cinnamon into a metal bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water to create a double boiler. Mix the ingredients as they warm up until the sugar melts into the mixture. Mix in the baking soda and stir the mixture.
- When the baking soda foams up and turns the mixture a lighter color, remove the bowl from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl from an electric mixer, place the butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces. Pour the molasses mixture over top, and mix together with an electric mixer. Let the mixture cool to about 90 degrees, checking the temperature with a candy thermometer.
- Once the mixer has cooled, add the eggs and mix well.
- Add the flour to the mixture 1 cup at a time. The mixer will thicken and become harden for the mixer to handle.
- If you are rolling out the cookies now, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- On a well-floured board, roll out the dough and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters. Place on the parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch. Thoroughly cool on cooling racks before icing the cookies.
1 egg white 1 cup or more confectioners sugar
Mix together the ingredients with a whisk in an electric mixer. Stop every so often to scrape down the sides to thoroughly incorporate the confectioners sugar into the egg white.
Since I like a stiffer icing even for spreading on the cookies, I add extra confectioners sugar.
Tint the icing after you're finished mixing it.
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