Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cookies and a Recipe

Thought you might like to see what the cookies looked like going out the door. This was about 1/2 the cookie trays I made up for my sweet neighbors and friends

I wish I had taken a picture BEFORE I wrapped them but this next one is as close as I could get so you could get an idea of how they looked. You can click on the picture to see how big the Gingerbread Snowflakes (and stars!) are in relation the rest of the tray. I use them as the topper for the trays.

I added some reindeer food to this one for the kids next door...they're just the right age for it.
And, finally, what they look like going back into the freezer for the next round of trays!

Pam said she'd like to see Martha's recipe for the Gingerbread Snowflakes. They are really yummy and make a beautiful presentation when frosted with Royal Icing. These are wonderful for Valentine's day hearts as well.
Gingerbread Snowflakes
6 c. all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
4 t. ground ginger
4 t. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t. finely ground black pepper
1-1/2 t. coarse salt (I used kosher salt)
2 large eggs
1 c. unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Coarse sugar and/or edible glitter for sprinkling
1. Sift together flour, bakind soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. (Sometimes I just measure it all in and use a whisk to blend and lighten the mixture. The whisk adds air just like sifting)
2. Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix on medium speed until fluffy.
Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least an hour or until cold. (Overnight is ok, too)
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4" thick. Cut using a 7" snowflake cutter (if using this large size, you will get approximately 16 giant cookies. If you use smaller cutters, you will get more)
I actually roll my dough directly onto my silicone pan liners so I don't have to move them from the counter to the cookie sheet and risk breaking or altering the shape. You could also roll them onto parchment paper and lift that to your cookie sheet for baking.
4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, about 12-14 minutes. Cool about 1 minute on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can store covered if you don't have time to decorate right away.
5. Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip ( I use Wilton #2 or #3). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sugar or glitter and allow to dry completely at room temperature (several hours) before storing. Layer each cookie with waxed paper in an airtight container up to 5 days at room temperature.
Royal Icing (Snowflakes will use 1/2 this amount)
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
5 T. meringue powder (you can get this at Michael's or Walmart)
a scant 1/2 c. warm water
Put sugar, powder, and water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water a little at a time; if too thin, mix icing 2-3 minutes more.
Happy New Year!
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