Friday, December 10, 2010

The Great Christmas Cookie Freeze!

it is my pleasure to be participating in this *virtual* Christmas cookie party, hosted by my blog friend, edie! she has a blog life{in}grace that more and more refreshes and inspires me. i am thankful that our internet lives crossed, and that her inspiration is available to me via the web!

anyways, she decided to have us all *over* for Christmas cookie baking...we would share our favorite recipes, and ideally we'd all bake cookies all weekend! i jumped in with my gingerbread cookies because i seem to be somewhat inundated with gingerbread this time of year. it's a choice, and i love it.

i change gingerbread recipes as often as i change my hair style (and color), so i have to give credit where credit is due. i use the Pampered Chef gingerbread recipe when i make my houses, but i used the "Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: food gifts" for the recipe i used for my gingerbread men this year, (i bought it in october, but here is a link to their site with fabulous ideas! better homes and gardens.

so, here is the recipe, which i have made twice and doubled each time. i feel that you need more than a few gingerbread men...more like a gingermob, so i double. (and apparently it is not politically correct to make these gender specific, as you'll note in the title.) whatever. my favorite is still the men.

gingerbread people cutouts

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg
1 T. white vinegar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
royal icing (recipe follows)

i altered this recipe both times i made gingerpeople this year because someone (pretty sure not my husband) had used all but the last bit of white flour and didn't write it on the whiteboard that we needed more. so, i used a little white flour and the rest organic whole wheat flour. they came out very yummy and much more healthy. it's all good.

1. in a mixing bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. add granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. beat in molasses, egg, and vinegar until combined. beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. divide dough in half. wrap each half in plastic wrap; chill dough about 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2. preheat oven to 375. grease a cookie sheet; set aside. on a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/4 in. thick. cut with 2-3 in. gingerbread people shape cookie cutters. place cutouts 1 in. apart on the prepared cookie sheet. (i had mine closer together and they were fine...)
3. bake for 7-8 min. or until edges are light brown. let stand for 1 min. on cookie sheet. transfer to a wire rack and let cool. pipe designs on cookies with tinted (only if you want tinted, the recipe instructs) royal icing. makes about 24 cookies. 

royal icing
in a mixing bowl, stir together 4 cups powdered sugar, 3 T. meringue powder, 1/2 t. cream of tartar. add 1/2 c. warm water with 1 t. vanilla. if desired, tint with food coloring. beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, then on high speed for 7-10 minutes or until very stiff. add 2-4 T. of additional water, 1 t. at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency.

i provide the royal icing recipe, however i couldn't resist the wilton sparkle decorating icing this year!

i am also using bh&g packaging idea for these when i present them to my co-workers in a couple of weeks...
that's just a cd envelope (i got 100 for about $4!), with scrapbooking paper tucked inside and ribbon glued across the front!  just wait an hour or two for the icing to poor little guy has a smushed face here, but i wanted to share and i have dinner plans in an hour! :)

happy baking! thanks, edie, for letting me share!



joyinsimplicity said...

My daughter just asked "can we make gingerbread men this year?" How can you go wrong with gingerbread MEN (I'm with you on the whole gender thing)? love it! And I positively adore the CD holder wrapping idea. Thanks so much for including that too...adorable!! Thanks for sharing on the exchange!

~Kathie~ said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe! I have been looking for a new gignerbread recipe.

kim @simpleginger said...

Those are adorable! I can't believe you make those for others when you can't eat them! How gracious. I just pass out my gf cookies and work on recipes until I'm sure no one can tell the difference! Check out my blog for more gf recipes you can share!