Christmas Cookies

December 1, 2008  •  Desserts,

I led a cooking class for a group of girls yesterday and you know what that means – I’ll be cleaning up the powdered sugar for the next two weeks! Despite the mess, I had a blast as usual with the kids and thought readers might like to attempt gingerbread cookies with your own kids. They are really easy to make – and kids seem to love decorating them.

Gingerbread Cookies
Yields 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Whisk together the flour with the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves; set aside. Using the paddle beater of an electric stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and molasses until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, and then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Divide dough in half and roll out between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness. Transfer to two baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Invert the dough onto a clean, floured surface and roll out dough slightly thinner. Flour cookie cutters and cut out cookies; transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner and bake until firm, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. While cookies are cooling, prepare Royal Icing by beating egg whites until foamy, then adding confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time and beating until fully incorporated. Add lemon juice and continue beating on high until icing holds it’s shape, about 5 minutes. Thin with water as needed.

Tip: If you don’t want to make royal icing, they sell cookie icing in convenient tubes at the grocery store with the other decorator icings. It was easy and dried quickly for my students.

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