Sunday, December 02, 2007

gingerbread


cute, but not too cute to eat

Gingerbread cookies are just so darn cute, even with my terrible sloppy decorating, that I had to post some pics. I tried two recipes. The Cook's Illustrated one, pictured here, is excellent. Gingerbread is nortorious for being impossible to cut because the dough is so sticky. So apparently lots of recipes cut way back on the butter to make gingerbread easier to cut. But this results in tough, dry cookies. The Cook's version is easy to work with yet still tasty and pliant. Plus, they remain flat and keep the cookie cutter shape exactly, great if you are a precise decorator.

I also tried a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine, which has lots more butter and an egg, which makes the cookie more cakey and fluffy. I really like eating this one, especially if I underbake it (the recipe says 12-14 mins and I only cook it 8min). It's not doughy at all, just soft and chewy instead of dry and crispy.


I got a new set of Christmas cutters from Manor


Cook's cookies maintain their exact shape after baking


my son and I go to town with the royal icing


Gingerbread Cookies - flat and precise
See Cook's Illustrated

Gingerbread Cookies - plump and cakey
Adapted from Fine Cooking

10.5 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and egg, scraping down sides as necessary. Beat in the flour until just combined. Remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half. Roll each half between parchment to 1/4 inch thickness. Chill until very firm, at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 325F (160C). Remove parchment and cut cookies quickly and place on cookies sheets (lined with parchment) spaced 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps and chill again to make more cookies. Bake until finger leaves slight impression on top of cookie, about 8-10 mins (original recipe says 12-14mins, but 8 is perfect in my oven).

Royal Icing
1 pound powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat until the icing holds thick, soft peaks, 4 to 6 minutes. Don't overbeat or icing will stiffen and lose its gloss. If the icing is too thick, add a few drops of water. If too thin, add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Keep icing covered when not in use. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a week.

2 comments:

Aluwicious said...

Great! Because we got a nativity scene set of cookie cutters and I'm going to make the gingerbread cookies today and then we'll go to town tonight. It's our new tradition.

Margaret said...

I love the outline style of decorating you've done, esp. that you kept it all white. So elegant.

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