It isn’t Christmas without twinkling lights, spiced apple cider, and big family get-togethers. And with minutes ticking down until tomorrow, what better way to get in the Christmas spirit than getting the entire family in the kitchen to make and decorate gingerbread cookies?
Yet in my family, I’m basically the only person with enough patience to mix the dough, wait for it to chill, roll it out, and cut out all the shapes. Everyone else invents the most extravagant excuses to avoid the kitchen until they smell ginger wafting throughout the house, the signal that it’s safe to come out of their hiding places. I don’t mind much; I just blast Christmas music while I stir and then require that they clean up my mess. Since everyone ends up enjoying themselves, it’s definitely a win-win situation!
based on this Gingerbread Cookie recipe
makes 3-5 dozen (depending on what cookie cutters used)
We have the most random cookie cutters known to mankind. They range from Santa and his sleigh to teddy bears and the Pillsbury doughboy, so we always have a plethora of cookies to decorate. Use your favorite shapes! You can either decorate them with icing (recipe follows) or store-bought frosting.
2½ c. flour
1½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp sugar
¼ c. butter, softened
½ c. molasses
1 egg white
- Combine flour through cloves in a medium bowl, mixing well.
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg white, mixing well. Add in flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
- Shape dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray).
- Take one dough ball out of the fridge and roll out on a well-floured surface until ⅛ – ¼ inch thick. (Thinner cookies will be crunchy; thicker cookies will be chewy.) Dip cookie cutters into flour and press into flattened dough. Use a spatula to transfer shapes to the cookie sheets.
- Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes. Remove from trays and cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Use less liquids for thicker icing, or increase for thinner icing.
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, and stir well with a small whisk or spoon. If you want to make different colors, separate into individual bowls and add a few drops of food coloring. Stir well to ensure even coloring.
- Use a knife to apply an even layer to the cookies, or pour into a small Ziploc baggie and snip off the tip to create designs. Top with sprinkles for extra-festive cookies!