Lookie, Lookie, Holiday Cookies!

December 18th, 2011  |  City: | Published in What's Cookin'

Snowman cookie

Frosty's Cousin

When I received an invite for a Chrismukkah party recently, I first came to terms with the fact that it wouldn’t in fact be held on the beach in the O.C., and then decided to make gingerbread men (and gingersnowmen, and gingercandycanes)! This was a first. I hadn’t made this recipe before but have had a slew of gingerbread kitchen mishaps, like the time I tried to make a true gingerbread house (versus pasting graham crackers on a box with icing), and the recipe called for 9 cups of flour, which doesn’t exactly fit into a regular sized mixer when you add other ingredients. Flour all over the kitchen, recipe fail, and therefore, I resorted to another trip to the store to purchase slice-and-bake ready-made gingerbread dough. Let’s just say the foundation of that house wasn’t the strongest.

This time, the recipe I found turned out to be JUST perfect. Not sticky, not dry, firm, full of flavor, and as Goldilocks says, “juuuuust right” for cookie-cutter-ing. My friend Jess was the perfect co-baker, keeping us on track with measurements and ingredients.

I wish I could find the recipe that inspired me to decorate these gingerbread men and snowmen with gummi strip scarves to give them credit, but I lost it! Actually, that recipe used fruit leather for scarves, but we found sour gummi strips, and they were perfect! We could even fray the end of the scarves to make them more real. Other candies we used for decorations were: Sixlets, Mini M&M’s, sprinkles, and Red Hots. The Sixlets were the most popular and looked the cutest (in my opinion). The awesome $4.50 cookie-cutter set came from Michael’s. We also added black and yellow/red food coloring to the frosting to make the snowmen hats and orange carrot noses. Here’s the another photo and the recipe below! Get baking!

Holiday Cookies

Recipe Modified from Joy of Baking:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (390 grams) all purposeflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated whitesugar
  • 1 largeegg
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses(To prevent molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.)

Confectioners Frosting:

  • 2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar(icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milkor light cream

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
  3. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least two hours or even overnight).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies.  With an offset spatula lift the cookies onto the baking sheet, placing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer. (If cookies are a little soft, place the baking sheet (with the cookies) in the fridge for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the cookies from losing their shape.)
  6. Bake for about 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cookies are cooled, either use a plastic ziploc bag with the corner snipped to pipe the frosting below on the cookies, or spread with a knife. Then, add your favorite candies to dress ’em up! Store in an airtight container.

Confectioners Frosting:

  1. In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and well blended.  Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if needed. Tint frosting with food color, if desired. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.

Happy Holidays!

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