Gingerbread

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’Tis the season for cookies, cookies, and more cookies. And is there a cookie that epitomizes the holiday season more than gingerbread?? Even if it’s not your favorite cookie, you have to admit that it’s difficult to refuse those spicy-sweet treats this time of year. Whether you make gingerbread people or go all out with a gingerbread house, treating your family to a batch of these gingerbread cookies should be a must every December. This recipe has been my family’s go-to since I was a tiny baker. Some of my earliest Christmas memories were spent around the dining table with my sisters and dad as we constructed the tastiest gingerbread house on the block. If you haven’t dedicated an entire December day to Christmas music and gingerbread baking while being elbow-deep in candy decorations, then you’re really missing out. But even if gingerbread house construction is just out of reach this year, you can opt for cookie-cutter gingerbread cookies instead. And dont forget that sturdy royal icing (recipe below)!  

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Gingerbread 

Ingredients

  • 6 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  •  1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  •  4 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  •  1 tsp. ground cloves
  •  1 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  •  1 cup sugar
  •  1 ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
  •  2 eggs
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Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a large mixing bowl on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Mix in the molasses and eggs. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Turn mixture onto a lightly floured surface and roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using either a cookie cutter or a gingerbread house template*, cut out cookies and place on a parchment paper or silat lined cookie sheet. Bake small cookies for 6-10 minutes; bake large cookies for 10-15 minutes. After baking, loosen gingerbread with a spatula to prevent sticking and allow to cool on the tray. After 10 minutes, transfer cookies to cooling rack and cool completely. 
Note: If you’re not going to use your gingerbread dough right away, place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for a week. Be sure to remove the dough from the fridge 3 hours prior to rolling so it softens. 

Royal Icing

Yields 7 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar  plus more if needed 
  • 2 egg whites (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Set aside. In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar mixture gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Cover the bowl with a damp towel as you decorate your cookies so that the icing doesn’t dry out.
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*Print your gingerbread house template (there are hundreds available online) before baking your gingerbread house. Cut the gingerbread according to the template, bake, then re-cut using the template again to ensure straight and accurate measurements. This will create the secure framework for the house, safeguarding it against any disappointing collapses. 
 
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