Though Santa was generous this year, he brought me neither a set of fine motor skills nor a competency in food photography (so imagine your cookies looking much better than those in the picture)! However, regardless of how they are decorated, these little guys are always delicious, so enjoy the yuletide yumminess!
For the Gingerbread Cookies (originally from The Best Recipes Cookbook):
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 12 squares
- ¾ cup light or dark molasses
- 2 tbsp milk
- royal icing for decorating
- With an electric mixer, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt at a low speed until all combined, about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and mix at med-low until the mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 90 seconds. Reduce the speed to low, and with the mixer running, gradually add the molasses and milk. Mix until the dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase the speed to a medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.
- Scrape the dough onto a work surface; divide it in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough ¼ inch thick between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving the dough sandwiched between the parchment, stack the dough on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, 15-20 minutes (or refrigerate 2 hours-overnight).
- Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove 1 dough sheet from the freezer and place on the work surface. Take off the parchment. Cut the dough into 3-5 inch shapes, transferring to the prepared baking sheet with a metal spatula and keeping them ¾ inch apart.
- Bake the cookies until set in the centers and the dough barely retains an imprint when touched very gently with a finger tip (8-11 minutes), rotating the baking sheets front to back and switching top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Do not over bake. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool to room temp.
- Store up to 1 week in Tupperware with parchment between layers.
For the Royal Icing (modified from Tips from a Typical Mom):
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tsp milk
- 3 tsp corn syrup
- Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and start mixing on low with the wire whisk attachment.
- Slowly add the milk and corn syrup and whisk until smooth with the consistency of white glue.
- Scoop into a plastic bag, snip off the corner, and decorate cookies!