GINGERBREAD COOKIES

3 cups   Flour

¾ cup  Packed brown sugar

¾ tsp  Baking soda

1 Tbsp  Ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp  Ground ginger

½ tsp  Ground cloves

½ tsp  Salt

12 Tbsp Butter (1 ½ sticks), softened but still cool

¾ cup  Molasses

2 Tbsp  Milk

  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices and salt in bowl and stir to blend.
  2. Cut butter into 12 pieces and scatter over flour mixture.
  3. Mix on medium low speed until mixture is sandy, about 1 ½ minutes.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk. Mix until dough is evenly moistened.
  5. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.
  6. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in parchment paper.  Refrigerate for at least two hours.  (If you plan to refrigerate dough overnight, wrap first in parchment and then in plastic wrap.)
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick, using a small amount of flour if necessary to keep from sticking.   Cut out cookies and place on parchment-lined pan.  Re-roll scraps as needed to use up all the dough.
  9. Bake until set in the center (dough should barely retain imprint when touched gently with fingertip) – about 8-10 minutes. 
  10. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  11. If desired, frost with royal icing or butter frosting (recipe follows)

To make thinner, crisper cookies (best for making ornaments), follow the same recipe with the following adjustments:

  1. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness (rather than ¼ inch)
  2. Reduce baking temperature to 325 degrees
  3. Increase baking time to 15-18 minutes.

LEMON BUTTER FROSTING

1 stick  Butter

5 cups  Powdered sugar

2 Tbsp  Fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp  Milk

1 tsp  Vanilla

1 Tbsp  Grated lemon zest

  1. Whip butter with mixer on high speed. 
  2. Add two cups of sugar and blend well. 
  3. Add milk, lemon juice, zest and vanilla and blend. 
  4. Gradually add remaining sugar and mix on medium high speed for about two minutes.  Add more milk if needed to adjust consistency.
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