Gingerbread cookies are delicious and bring back fond childhood memories of Christmas time. There was nothing more exciting than cold nights by the fire eating those fancily decorated cookies that were made but once a year. It is needless to say that gingerbread cookies are one of my favorite things about Christmas.
Follows are two different approaches for making awesome gingerbread cookies. One kind is the highly-edible-type that we all have come to know and love. These work best in my belly. The other type is the not-so-edible type that work really well as decoration. These work best hung from a Christmas tree. Figure out what kind you want to make and enjoy.
Step 1: Go Get Stuff
Pick one of the two ingredient lists to suit your needs. Also, don't forget to give the tools list a quick once over.
If you would like to make some nonstructural gingerbread for human consumption in the form of cookies, I highly recommend:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups of molasses
2/3 cup of chilled water
7 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
If you would like to make some structural gingerbread for ornaments, I can recommend the following recipe:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds confectioners' sugar
Holiday cookie cutters
Step 2: Make a Dough Ball
To see the in-depth process of making gingerbread dough check out the gingerbread recipe Instructable.
Below is a photographic overview of the process.
Step 3: Roll Out the Dough
Place your ball of gingerbread dough on a highly flowered surface. With a lightly flowered rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is a flat 1/4" thick sheet.
Step 4: Cut Out Your Shapes
Take your cookie cutters, and starting at one edge of the rolled out dough, cut out your cookies and place them spaced apart on a baking sheet.
When you don't have room to cut out any more, roll the dough back into a ball, spread the dough back out and cut out some more. Continue until you have used up all the dough.
Step 5: Bake
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. While this is happening, refrigerate the cookie trays for about 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes. When they appear to golden and rise, then you know that they are done.
Step 6: Frosting
While your cookies cool off, you can make icing by mixing 6 egg whites and 2 pounds of confectioners sugar in a food processor until they are about the consistency of spackle.
Once it is, take a Ziploc bag, poke a hole in a far corner and push an icing tip halfway through from the inside.
Spoon your frosting into the bag and pack it into the corner with the icing tip. Seal the bag shut.
If you made a mess like I did or your bag breaks under pressure, poke another hole into the corner of another Ziploc bag, poke the same icing tip through and double bag it.
Step 7: Decorate
By squeezing firmly from the top of the bag you can apply your frosting to the cookie.
You can also make different color frosting by adding food color to small batches of the icing. You can also purchase pre-made cake frosting and sprinkles.
This is your chance to get creative. Perhaps I got a little too creative.