Friday, December 17, 2010
365 Days With Kiddos - #20 - Make Gingerbread Cookies
Making gingerbread cookies is a great way for kids to help in the kitchen during the holidays. They can measure the ingredients and mix the dough, as well as roll it out. Their imaginations can run wild by picking and using cookie cutters, as well as decorating the cookies. This year we had everything from connected rows of stars, to fairies, to mommy and baby stars, to simple circles (which were nice blank canvases for elaborate decoration). Premade icing is available but I wrote about a simple vanilla buttercream recipe that can be dyed any color you like, here. If you don't have a piping bag you cab fill a ziploc bag with icing, then cut of the tip of one of the bottom corners. We also used sprinkles and little round hard candies. The sky is the limit and half of the fun is chosing what to use. If you would like to make the connected cookies we did, just make sure your dough cut outs are touching each other on the cookie sheet before you place them in the oven.
I found this recipe on a card in my jumbo sized recipe box that I don't look in often enough. It has good ingredients that I replaced with organic versions. It is a very easy recipe to put together and I love all the spices that are used. The cookies are crisp and delicious. The dough should be chilled before rolling it out or it will be very sticky. I made half of the batch one evening and left the dough in the fridge overnight and baked the rest the next day. You can freeze this dough for 4-6 weeks by double wrapping it plastic wrap. Defrost it by placing it in the fridge for several hours. The baked cookies can be frozen for 3-4 weeks by double wrapping the same as with dough. When you want to eat them just let them sit out until they are room temperature or pop them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Be sure to make extras so you can share them. We saved some of ours for a family that is hosting an upcoming open house...
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup honey)
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup water (1/8 if using honey)
1) In a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer, cream together butter with sugar or honey, molasses and spices. In a medium bowl combine flours and baking soda.
2) Add flour mix to butter mix and stir well. Mix in water. The dough should be stiff (I use my hands to combine everything). Chill for several hours. You can put in the freezer for 30 minutes if you are rushed for time.
3) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board or your counter to a thickness of 1/4" to 1/3".
4) Cut cookies using cookie cutters. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 10 - 15 minutes.
5) Let cool on the pan for a minute or two, then transfer to wire cooling racks.