Gingerbread, Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

by Lauren Mote

Gingerbread Cookies:

I like this recipe because the spice and flavour content is strong – not to mention this dough will be firm enough to make tree decorations, but soft enough to munch on with the kiddies.

Makes about twenty-four 6-inch gingerbread people

Ingredients:

•6 cups all-purpose flour

•1 teaspoon baking soda

•1/2 teaspoon baking powder

•1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

•1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed

•4 teaspoons ground ginger (or substitute 2 teaspoons ground ginger for the same measurement in freshly grated ginger)

•4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

•1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

•1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

•1 1/2 teaspoons salt

•2 large eggs

•1 cup unsulfured molasses

Method:

Oven – 350°F – line baking sheets with Silpats or greased surface.

Cream the butter, then add the sugar. Add eggs one at a time while mixing on low, followed by the molasses.

Sift all dry ingredients, including spices, in a bowl, and add slowly to wet mixture until combined. Divide dough into thirds, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured work surface, take one third, roll out to 1/8 inch thick, make your shapes with cutters – transfer to baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, or until just crisp, but not darkened.

Cool on wire rack.

Sugar Cookies:

Makes 7 dozen

Ingredients:

•4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

•1 teaspoon salt

•3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

•1 teaspoon baking soda

•1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)

•1 cup canola, grapeseed or safflower oil

•1 cup icing sugar, plus more for dusting

•1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for pressing cookies

•2 large eggs

1.

•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2.

•Finely grated zest of one orange (optional)

Method:

Oven – 375°F – line baking sheets with Silpats or greased surface.

Cream the butter, then add the granulated sugar, followed by the icing sugar. Add the oil, and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while mixing on low, followed by the vanilla extract and citrus zest (if desired).

Sift all dry ingredients in a bowl, and add slowly to wet mixture until incorporated. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured work surface, take one third, roll out to 1/8 inch thick, make your shapes with cutters, dipping cutter into granulated sugar before pressing dough – transfer to baking sheet, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until just crisp.

Cool on wire rack and dust with icing sugar if desired, or continue to decorating stage with royal icing (see next recipe).

Royal Icing:

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

• 3 large egg whites, or more to thin icing

• 4 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, or more to thicken icing

•1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice

•1 tsp cream of tartar

Method:

Beat the whites until stiff but not dry, with vinegar and tartar. Add sugar. Beat for 1 minute more. If icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar. The icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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