Saturday, November 26, 2005

Gingerbread Cookies & Royal Icing

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup molasses
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Using an electric mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and molasses and beat until fluffy. Combine the remaining ingredients (except the Royal Icing) in a separate bowl. Add to the molasses mixture and beat until combined. Divide into 4 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two 12- x 18-inch baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch (.3 cm). Cut into shapes, using Christmas cookie cutters. For hanging cookies, pierce 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) from the top edge with a 1/8-inch (.3 cm) round cutter.

Transfer to the cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm. Cool on rack. Decorate cookies with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing

2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Divide the icing into separate bowls for each desired colour. Store icing refrigerated in closed plastic containers. Bring to room temperature before using. Using a piping bag or paper cone, pipe the icing decoratively on the cookies, or paint it on with a brush. You may need to add more icing sugar if the icing is too thin to pipe (it should not spread when applied), or more egg white if the icing is too thick to paint (it should spread smoothly without being transparent).

Source: Wanda's Pie in the Sky, 2002

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