Christmas cookies

The Christmas school holidays are nearly upon us, and most of us are collectively sighing a big sigh of relief to see the end of 2020 and to look forward to a Christmas (hopefully) spent with our loved ones.

 

These gingerbread cookies are the perfect pre-Christmas school holiday activity with the kids or grandkids and will go down a treat over the festive season.

 

What you’ll need:  

 

Gingerbread cookies recipe:

 

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup molasses

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

(optional) zest of one small orange

optional toppings: simple icing (see below), red hots, sprinkles, etc.

 

Simple icing recipe:

 

2 cups powdered sugar

2–3 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Method:

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

 

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or alternately, you can use a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl), beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, molasses and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.

 

Divide the dough into two equal portions and form them each into a ball.  Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

 

Once the dough is thoroughly chilled and you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly floured hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick.

 

Then use your favourite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.

 

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Once the cookies are room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing (see below) plus any extra sprinkles or candies.  Serve and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

 

To make the simple icing:

 

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth.  If your icing is too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar.  If your icing is too thick, add in a tiny bit of milk.

 

Use a piping bag, or a Ziplock bag (with the corner snipped off), or a plastic squeeze bottle to pipe the icing onto the cookies.

 

 

 

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