My Mom makes an insane amount of Christmas cookies every year…no joke, the woman makes TWENTY different kinds. TWENTY. Its crazy! She makes everything from classic cutout cookies to chocolate-raspberry truffles. I love going to their house over the holidays because the spread of sugar is unending! All that being said, I never feel the need to make Christmas cookies at this point in my life because I can easily swing by their house after work each day and grab some cookies if I have the notion.
This year, I for some reason wanted some gingerbread – something she doesn’t make (and never has for no particular reason). She does make soft molasses cookies, however. But I wanted real gingerbread…cut out in shapes and frosted. I didn’t really feel the deep desire to make people and draw on faces and clothes, I really just wanted to smear frosting over the top and sprinkle on some fancy sugar.
So hear you go, I found this recipe for Gingerbread Cookies by Alex Guarnaschelli. I didn’t use her frosting because I prefer my mom’s simple cookie frosting – why mess with a good thing, you know?
- 1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
- 1 2/3 c. sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- 4 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 TBS ground dry ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. dark molasses
- 1 lemon, juiced
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and beat until smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet. A note about crowding the tray(s): these particular cookies can spread a little. Leave room between the cookies. Better to use 3 baking sheets with fewer cookies than to crowd them on 2 trays. Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.