Gingerbread Cookies

This extra-stiff dough makes wonderful edible Christmas tree ornaments. It is sturdy enough to be used with giant cookie cutters.

  • Yield: Makes about 16 large cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring

Ingredients

  • 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 teaspoons ground 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
  • Silver dragees (for decorative use only)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

  2. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide the dough into thirds, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. If desired, cut out the center of each cookie with a smaller cookie cutter. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp but not darkened. While cookies are still hot, you can punch holes in each with a #8 pastry tip so they can be hung as decorations. Let the cookies cool on wire racks, then decorate as desired with Royal Icing in a pastry bag (fitted with a #2 tip) and silver dragees, the small decorative balls.

  4. Roll dough to a scant 1/4 inch thickness, stopping every few turns to release the dough from the paper by running the offset spatula under the dough. Add more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Transfer parchment paper and dough to the freezer to chill until very firm, about 15 minutes.

  5. Removed dough from freezer; working quickly, cut into desired shapes. If your dough begins to warm up and soften, return to the freezer a few minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer to baking sheets; freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Cook's Notes

When making very large cookies, use two spatulas to transfer shaped dough to the baking sheets, or roll the dough directly onto the cookie sheet. Press the cookie cutter into the dough, and remove the excess before taking away the cutter.

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