Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From the Kitchen: Tinsel Tree Gingerbread Cut Out Cookies

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I can’t believe this is my 4th (or is it my 5th?) Christmas blogging here and I haven’t yet shared my gingerbread cut out recipe. Well, it was requested by my fabulous neighbor DeeDee, so here it is!! I like requests because they make me see past the mile-long to-do list and do something a little more gratifying for a couple minutes :) I had already photographed them in an optimistic hour during one successful naptime, so I was able to share this year’s batch with you. Enjoy with friends!


Classic Gingerbread for Cut Out Cookies


Ingredients

· 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· ½ teaspoon baking powder
· 1 cup butter
· 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
· 4 teaspoons ground ginger
· 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
· 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
· 1½ teaspoons salt
· 2 large eggs
· 1 cup molasses
Directions
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture and combine on low speed. 
Divide dough in thirds and wrap in plastic and flatten into approximately 1” bricks. Chill for about 1 hour. Heat oven to 350°. On a heavily floured surface, roll dough 1/8”-1/4” thick (depending on preference). Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. If dough will not hold shape well, refrigerate cut-outs for 15 minutes before baking. If dough is too stiff to roll without cracking, allow to warm up before rolling and cutting. 
Bake about 8 to10 minutes, until puffed but not darkened, or longer if you prefer crispier cookies. Allow cookies to cool on wire racks, and then decorate as desired.
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As you can see, I opted out of the traditional cookie cutter method for these. I thought it would be quicker to cut them with a pastry wheel (that rotary thing is used for pie crusts, they tell me, though I don’t make pies). Hmm. Let’s just say that the cutting and baking is the fast part, so I didn’t realize my dream of speedy completion. But I love the end result and it was worth the work, as always :) They remind me of A Charlie Brown Christmas (watch teh first couple seconds and then go to 2:43 in the video to watch my favorite part!). I like to roll these thick (1/4”-ish) and bake them to be softer and chewier than most gingerbread tends to be, but feel free to follow your instincts and/or traditional preferences to make them your own.

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I use the royal icing recipe here (I generally use about half the meringue powder that Martha suggests because I don’t like the taste of it in my icing). I decorated them simply with some really pricey metallic sanding sugar from Williams-Sonoma. As much as I love browsing the store and catalog, Williams-Sonoma is not a place I normally shop for myself, but I love the look of these edible tinsel trees and I have a ton left over for future cookie decorating needs. Sometimes a little kitchen upgrade goes a long way, especially for cookies made to be given away.

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Happy Advent! I hope to be back before Christmas with more cookies…

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you used light brown sugar in this recipe before?

Karen said...

I'm sure light brown wouldn't make a noticeable difference :) Merry Christmas!!

j. wilson said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe! We baked a batch up today sand icing and they're pretty tasty! This will be my new go-to recipe...we added cayenne pepper for a bit more kick. Yum!