I don’t know why I procrastinate when it comes to making gingerbread cookies. I think I must forget from year to year that they are about the simplest dough to throw together, that they bake up in about 15 minutes, and that the clean up is basically one bowl.
And yet, I procrastinate.
Perhaps it’s because I know I’ll want a massive amount of time to decorate them. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to decorate them. I just don’t like the process of making the royal icing, getting it to the right color and the right consistency. Maybe I don’t like having to dig out a bunch of icing tips, filling 4 or 5 piping bags. But it’s all worth it in the end.
One of my favorite things to do is turn on our tiny kitchen TV, sit with only the light of the TV and our sink light to guide me, and add details to piped cookies. I could sit there for hours (and have!) just coloring, adding dots and designs to otherwise simple cookies. It’s cathartic, and if you haven’t done it, I can’t recommend it enough.
Go ahead, try it. Then wrap your masterpieces in cello bags and give them to the folks you know will appreciate them. Not only are they beautiful, they are art, and they are also delicious.
For my cookies, I changed up my most favorite gingerbread cookie recipe using the new McCormick Roasted Cinnamon and Roasted Ginger. Oh my! These spices are incredible, and I am thrilled to have discovered them. Maybe I am a world behind. Maybe they’ve been out for ages. All I know is, I have them now, they are half gone, and it’s been but 4 days since I opened the bottles. THAT should tell you something! In case you can’t find them, you can certainly substitute in the regular McCormick Cinnamon and Ginger…but do look for the roasted varieties, you won’t be sorry!
Seven and I started our cookies on Friday, making the dough and getting it frozen. I had planned to cut everything out that same day, but life happens! Luckily, you can leave this forgiving dough in the freezer for several days with no ill effects (in fact, it cuts even better the more frozen it is), so, we proceeded to finish our cookies on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to make holidays shapes: snowmen, gingerbread men, ornaments. Seven? Houses. Mittens. Hippopatamus. Camel.
I let him win on a couple of those – like the house and mittens. Maybe I’ll make the animals later this week. Maybe.
Once he went down for the night, I decorated. Since Jon wasn’t home, I took my time. I piped. I allowed them to dry. And then, I colored. How many hours? I can’t say for sure. Maybe 4. And my, was it ever a good time.
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
- 20 tablespoons cold salted butter cut into pieces
- 1 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda at low speed until combined, add butter and mix at medium-low speed for about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add molasses and milk until dough is evenly moistened then increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined.
Scrape dough onto work surface; divide in thirds. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll 1/8 to 1/4 -inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm,45 minutes or more. Dough can be left in the freezer if contained in plastic freezer bags for up to a month.
When ready to use, preheat oven to 325. Wait until oven is to temperature before getting dough from freezer. Remove from parchment paper. Use cookie cutters to make desired shapes, and carefully transfer cookies to lined baking sheet or SilPat. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Do not overbake or cookies will be too hard. (But still okay for making a gingerbread house!)
When cookies have cooled, decorate with royal icing, if desired.
You can find the recipe for royal icing here, and I highly recommend it. It’s practically no fail as long as you follow the instructions, which are simple.
Now that I have all these cookies, I have them wrapped up and ready to go.
But not today.
I’ll tell you all about that later this week, along with a few tips and tricks to help facilitate the perfect gingerbread cookie decorating experience. In the meantime, you should check out McCormick’s “Big Cookie Share” on Facebook! All month long, you can create virtual cookies and share them with friends and family across the country in an online cookie exchange. Fun, right? What are you going to say on YOUR cookie?
Until next time, have a great week, and be sure to check back here later for the giveaway of the day!
By the way, there’s still time to get in on these giveaways if you hurry!