Sunday, May 2, 2010

GIngerbread cookies and Lemon Icing




These are really good, and great during christmas or just for an afternoon snack. I rolled out these cookies the same way I did the sugar cookies, and it worked really well. I rolled out some really thin, and these became super crispy! I love crispy cookies, and these tasted just like graham crackers! The ones on the thicker side were more chewy, which I wasn't really a fan of but everyone has their own opinion...

I also made icing for the cookies. I chose to make lemon icing, but it can also be made with peppermint extract for a more minty icing that is still sweet and dries hard. The first time I made the icing I put wayyyy to much extract in and so the stuff i created was extremely nasty and super powerful...gross...but i re-did it and it came out pretty well if i do say so myself.

Gingerbread Men
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp (freshly) ground nutmeg
pinch ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup coffee or water
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses, water and vanilla, then gradually add in flour mixture until a smooth dough forms. Divide dough into two or three pieces (dough will be quite soft), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Preheat oven to 375F.
For softer cookies:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters of your choice (2-3″ gingerbread men are ideal!) to cut dough. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on size of cookie cutter. Cookies should be slightly firm to the touch at the edges. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For crispier cookies:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 1/8 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters of your choice (2-3″ gingerbread men are ideal!) to cut dough. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on size of cookie cutter. Cookies should be slightly firm to the touch at the edges and will be lightly browned. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, decorate with lemon icing (recipe below).

Makes about 30-40 gingerbread men, depending on size of cookie cutters used and whether you make them thick or thin.

Lemon Icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbsp tsp lemon juice

In a small bowl combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Substitute milk or cream plus 1 tsp lemon extract, if no fresh lemon juice is available. Add enough lemon juice to make the icing thick and pourable, but not runny (start with 1-2 tbsp and add more if necessary. You can always add a bit of extra sugar to thicken it if you add too much) and stir until very smooth. Scrape into piping bag with a fine tip or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off and pipe onto cooled cookies. Allow to set for at least 30 minutes, until firm, before storing cookies in an airtight container.

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