The holiday season, for me, is more about giving than receiving. As someone who loves to bake, I like sharing baked goodies at this time of the year, specifically holiday-themed Sugar Cookies. I also like combining it with Gingerbread Cookies because this time of the year is for… gingerbread cookies.
I am sharing here the recipes that I’ve been using for both cookies. Give it a try and enjoy sharing them.
Ingredients for Cookies:
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing, for decorating
For Royal Icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
6 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions for Cookies:
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt for 20 seconds. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and molasses; mix well. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add dry ingredients, and beat until combined. Divide the dough into thirds, and wrap each piece of dough in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat nonstick baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into gingerbread boys and girls. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly set. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack. Let cool completely.
4. Decorate cooled cookies with Royal Icing.
For Royal Icing:
Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder to the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
With the mixer on it’s lowest setting slowly add the water and vanilla to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.
Add more water to thin as needed and turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy.
Tint with food coloring if desired. Transfer to piping bags fitted with tiny round tips. You may also use a ziploc bag and cut the corner to pipe.
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and more if needed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sprinkles for decoration
1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in dry ingredients. Turn out dough, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to just under 1/4-inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cut out cookies using desired cutters. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Repeat with scraps after cutting cookies.
3. Bake cookies, for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and decorate with Royal Icing and sprinkles.
For Royal Icing
10 Tablespoons meringue powder
2 lbs powdered sugar
3/4 cup water
Gel food coloring if tinting the icing
1. Combine meringue powder and powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer.
2. Add water and mix with paddle attachment at medium speed for about 5 to 8 minutes. Icing should be the consistency of glue.
3. Once icing is ready, add additional water to get the right consistency for piping. If icing is too thick, mix in a little more water. If icing is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.
4. Add food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved; if making more than 1 color, divide icing and work in batches.
Once icing is ready, cover with a damp cloth to keep it from drying out. Icing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Stir before using.
Note: If you do not have the time to bake, you can always visit Baking Mama in Hoboken, NJ and buy holiday-themed Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies.