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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread Cutouts

I've been in serious cookie making mode lately. Last week I made an army of these cute little guys for a "cookie caper" on base, where volunteers bring in homemade cookies and then they are packaged and distributed to airmen. (I also made a double batch of my sugar cookie holly cutouts.) What I love about gingerbread men is that the cookie is not overly sweet and has a nice spiciness to it. I often make and give them as gifts. They can be packaged in such cute ways and everyone loves to receive them!

The dough is very easy to mix. Probably the hardest part is grating the ginger, but a microplane makes short work of the task. Just be sure that the fresh ginger is ground into a paste; you want it to mix evenly into the dough. Mix the wet ingredients together first.

Then mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding the flour mixture to the wet mixture. I've tried a lot of gingerbread cookie recipes, and I love the combination of spices in this one.

Form the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap, letting it firm up in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Once it has firmed up, cut the dough into four or five large slices and roll one disk out at a time. Roll it fairly thin, about one eighth of an inch is best. Use a gingerbread cutter to make figures. Bake on a greased cookie sheet or a parchment lined pan. For best flavor, bake until the cookies are nicely browned. I've found if they are under cooked, the flavor is a bit lackluster.

Once they are baked and completely cooled, pipe decorations in royal icing (I use the recipe on the package of Wilton meringue powder). Let the cookies sit out for at least a few hours until the icing is dried hard. Then package them up! They keep fairly well in an air tight container. I like to maximize my time, so I always do the same decoration on them, but you can certainly get creative! You can use a variety of colors and small candy decorations if you want. Make your gingerbread army however you see fit!

Gingerbread Cutouts
Yield: approx. 70 3-inch cutouts

3/4 cup brown sugar, firm packed
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth. Add eggs, molasses, and fresh ginger. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Stir well. Add slowly to the wet ingredients, stirring until well mixed. Shape dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least one hour. Slice log into four or five disks. Roll out one disk at a time. Roll fairly thin, about 1/8 of an inch. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350° F for about ten minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.

3 comments:

  1. Can you use powdered ginger rather than fresh? This looks delicious and my kids keep asking about doing gingerbread houses.

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  2. Kessie, as the dough already has some powdered ginger, it would certainly be fine to use all powdered instead of messing with the fresh. I'd start with an extra half teaspoon of the powdered and taste the dough and then adjust to your liking. The original recipe I worked from only had the two teaspoons of powdered ginger, but I didn't think it was prominent enough, so I added the fresh to kick it up a notch. If you're planning on baking it for a house, (I think this dough would work great for that, by the way) make sure you roll it out a lot thicker. Happy baking!

    ReplyDelete
  3. this looks perfect! I think we will be making these in the next couple of days. Dylan (my older son) wants to make ginger bread cookie men, women and babies - all books they are reading at school! Now I just need to get some cookie cutters

    ReplyDelete

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