Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

The clever girl and I made gingerbread cookies!  We actually made them before Christmas, but it has taken me a bit to get them onto the blog.  Christmas-time is busy!  Anyway, this is an activity that the clever girl really enjoys - both the baking part AND the decorating part.

She helped cut out the cookies with our multitudes of cookie cutters.  Seriously, I must have some sort of compulsion when it comes to cookie cutters.  I really have quite a few.  I finally had to separate them into categories - Christmas, baby, underwater creatures, woodland animals, misc. holiday, etc.  Maybe I can keep them organized this way.  You might notice that the top photograph has a gingerbread nativity.  Indeed, my sister has the same compulsion as I, and sent me a nativity cookie cutter set.  The clever girl and I made Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the three wise men, a shepherd, a sheep, a camel, and a star.  I think there is a donkey in that set as well but maybe we had eaten him by the time I took this photo!  I added the angel on top from a different cookie cutter set. 

The best part about gingerbread cookies is decorating them.  The clever girl thinks all gingerbread cookies need to have a red-hot on top, which is an opinion with which I must agree.  She sometimes covered entire cookies with them!  Funny.  We made 2 batches of gingerbread cookies - one with sprinkles decoration (and red-hots) and the other with icing (and red-hots).  I also have lots and lots of sprinkles, so that was super-fun for her.

Once the icing batch was out of the oven and cooled a bit, she decorated the cookies.  It was a fun day!

Gingerbread Cookies
adapted from Baking Bites
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon (freshly) ground nutmeg
pinch ground black pepper (optional)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup coffee or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.  Mix in the molasses, water/coffee, and vanilla.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until a smooth dough forms.  Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces in small bowls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 375F.
For crispy cookies, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to just under 1/8-inch thickness.  Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut dough.  Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Decorate with favorite items (especially red-hot candy!).  Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.  Cookies should be slightly firm to the touch at the edges and will be lightly browned.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  For softer cookies, follow the same directions but roll the dough to just under 1/4-inch thickness.

When cool, decorate with lemon icing.   

Lemon Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 TSP lemon juice
In a small bowl , combine powdered sugar and lemon juice.  You can substitute milk or cream plus 1 teaspoon lemon extract, if no fresh lemon juice is available.  Add enough liquid to make the icing thick and pourable, but not runny.  Start with 1-2 TB and add more as necessary.  Stir until very smooth.  Scrape into a piping bag with a fine tip or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off and pipe onto the cooled cookies.  Allow to set for at least 30 minutes, until firm, before storing the cookies in an airtight container.
Printable Recipe

We prefer gingerbread cookies to cut-out sugar cookies.  Do you have any fun cookie cutter sets?  What sort of dough do you prefer for cookie cutter usage??


  1. Popsy and I enjoyed the two yummy decorated gingerbread cookies we both received from The Clever Girl for Christmas! Thanks


    1. Yeah! We sure had fun making them and choosing which ones to give you all!


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