My holiday favorite is iced gingerbread cookies. Mmmm Soft, spicy gingerbread with crunchy, sweet royal icing is about as good as it gets, folks. Love 'em or hate 'em, nothing says Christmas like gingerbread cookies. Here is the recipe I used and tweaked a bit:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover and chill over night (or at least 2 hours).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8ish minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Once cool, decorate! The recipe easily made 3 dozen cookie cut outs.
For the royal icing, I followed Alton Brown's recipe because well, he knows everything and I trust him with my cookies.
For the gingerbread men and snowmen, I made faces and buttons and all that good stuff. For the stars, I tried my hand at flooding them with icing and it worked really well! I used this tutorial from Cake Journal. Super easy and SO good!
Here is the super secret tip - for some magical, unknown reason the cookies taste markedly better the next day. If they last that long. ;-)