Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread Men Cookies

It's winter time which means I have to make those aromatic, warm desserts that I only make once a year. I look forward to this season to take advantage of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, pumpkin, eggnog, pears, and of course hot chocolate.

Biting into these gingerbread cookies wouldn't be the same if you didn't use a gingerbread man cookie cutter and you have to pipe at least one with a smile and buttons.

I have tried this recipe and its very good as well. I love the balance of spices. The following recipe is courtesy of Gourmet Magazine and is just a bit easier to roll out and tastes great too. I make just a simple powdered sugar icing with milk and vanilla extract just to avoid using egg whites whenever possible.

Gingerbread Men

5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground cloves
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Sugar Icing

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons water
1 pinch cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Sift and combine together the first 6 dry ingredients listed above. You can do this by adding them all to the bowl of an electric mixer and combine with the whisk attachment. Transfer to another bowl.

Now place softened butter in the bowl of the electric mixer with the beater attachment and cream the butter. Add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, molasses, and vinegar. Slowly add the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. The dough will be soft.

Divide the dough into fourths, and wrap in plastic wrap. Flatten the dough slightly. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thick and cut with 3 or 4 inch cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until no imprint remains when touched. Cool, then frost.

Icing: beat egg whites with water, cream of tartar and salt until frothy. Add the sugar slowly and then beat until it holds stiff peaks. Add food coloring if desired.

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