Monday, October 18, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies

I have to be completely honest...I'm not sure how much more my heart can take. Every Saturday, I place my happiness in the hands of a bunch of 18 to 22-year-old boys and this year, they are letting me down week after week. Ugh! Sometimes being an Aggie is just rough.

So this year, I've chosen to focus on the fun off the field, rather than what happens on this field. It's just better that way. We have the best group of tailgating friends that we meet up with before home games. Our tailgate has grown from a group of people standing around in a campus park having a couple of beverages and snacks to tents, tables, grills, TV's & lots of food! (A big shout out to A&S for all they do to make our tailgate wonderful).

Before the season even started, I bought the cutest football themed cookies cutters in anticipation of make a tasty tailgate treat. Last week, I finally had the chance to use them. In sticking with my theme of "I-Love-All-Things-Fall", I made gingerbread cutout cookies!

A few years back I discovered Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Snowflake Cookie Recipe and it has changed my life. It is seriously easy to make. The dough is easy to work with and rolls out perfectly every time. The only problem I've found with these cookies is that I can't stop eating them.


* 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
* 4 teaspoons ground ginger
* 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup unsulfured molasses
* Royal Icing (see below)


1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy.

Mix in spices and salt...

then eggs...

and molasses.

3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture;

Mix until just combined.

Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick.

Cut into shapes using your favorite cookie cutters.

Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

6. Make Royal Icing (see below) and put icing in a pastry bag fitted with tip of your choice. Pipe designs on cookies; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

And try not to eat them all in one day.

My Tid-Bits:

* Royal Icing: Beat two egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Add 1 box (about 4 cups) of powdered sugar & 1 tsp. almond extract. Beat for another minute of so. If the icing is too thick, add more egg white. If it's too thin, add more sugar.

* This recipe makes about 70 small to medium sized cookies.

* These cookies make great (and inexpensive) holiday gifts for friends & co-workers. I've done large snowflakes, gingerbread men, fall leaves, etc. Package them up in cellophane bags tied with a cute ribbon & gift tag.

* One important thing to remember when working with cutout cookies: Be sure to use plenty of flour on your work surface when rolling out the dough. Otherwise, it will stick and it will be very difficult to get the cookies from the counter to the baking sheet without deforming them.

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