Ginger Bread Cookies

What would Christmas be without gingerbread gracing your table or a gingerbread house sitting on the dessert table as the main attraction? 

Our recipe is so easy and fills the air with a wonderful scent of holiday aromas that liven the senses. They're the perfect cookie for decorating or creating magical cookie houses, trains and more. This year we opted for the Christmas Santa Train which was so fun to make.  Sure you can opt out for a disassembled kit from the grocery store, but what would be the fun in that when in a matter of minutes the dough is ready to turn into wherever your imagination leads you.  We found a great resource for excellent and 'free' gingerbread cookie house templates at http://cupcakepedia.com, or you can do what we did years ago we made a store bought cookie train when the kids were little and traced the cookies to use for future Christmas projects on cardboard that we pull out from time to time to use as templates.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 cups sifted flour

1 egg

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Parchment paper lined cookie sheets, candy decorations, Royal Icing and your imagination

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl cream together shortening and brown sugar until creamy.  Add molasses, egg and beat well.  Add the balance of the dry ingredients until a firm dough forms and wrap with plastic wrap and let chill for a half hour or so (chilling the dough will make it much easier to work with and roll out).

Heat oven to 375F.  Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick or thicker depending on if you're creating a house, you'll need a thicker cookie to support the roof panels.  Cut out your shapes and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

Once cooled decorate with Royal Icing and candy decorations; see our easy Royal Icing recipe below.

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ROYAL ICING

INGREDIENTS

2 cups icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp meringue powder

3 tbsp water

DIRECTIONS
 

Sift the icing sugar to insure it is lump free (no one likes lumping frosting) and combine with meringue powder and water; add the water a tablespoon at a time until the perfect firm yet pipe-able consistency is reached.  The icing should not be runny as it will just slide off the cookies and it should be firm if making to retain its shape when piping details on the cookies. Depending on what you are creating you can easily double or triple this recipe but watch the amount of water you add or you'll be trying to correct the recipe by adding more sugar.