gingerbread cut out cookies


Let the flavors of winter linger a while longer with homemade gingerbread cookies.

GINGERBREAD CUT OUT COOKIES
 
Yields: approximately 5 dozen 3-inch cookies
INGREDIENTS
Cookies:
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing:
  • 2 pounds (1 bag) confectioner's sugar
  • ¼ cup meringue powder
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
PREPARATION
Cookies:
  1. In a large bowl, gently whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt on medium speed until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and molasses and mix until incorporated. Mixture may look lumpy, but will come together once flour mixture is added.
  4. Carefully add flour mixture one cup at a time, mixing between additions until all is added and dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  6. Break off manageable pieces of chilled dough and roll between two sheets of parchment paper until about ¼ inch thick. Peel off top layer of parchment paper and cut cookies to desired shapes.
  7. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets and bake for 11-13 minutes until edges are crisp, but not darkened.
  8. Allow to cool completely before decorating with royal icing (recipe follows).
Royal Icing:
  1. In an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together confectioner's sugar and meringue powder.
  2. Add extract to warm water and add to dry mixture in a slow, steady stream while mixing on low speed.
  3. Once all ingredients are added, mix on medium high speed until icing is fluffy with stiff peaks, approximately 5-10 minutes. Additional sugar and/or water may be added in small amounts to thicken or thin the icing as needed.
  4. Transfer to piping bag or squeeze bottle fitted with desired decorating tip. After cookies are decorated, allow icing to set 24 hours before transferring cookies to an airtight container for storage.

GADGETS
Squeeze bottles which accomodate standard decorating tips make icing beautiful cookies a breeze.

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