Gingerbread Cookies

Posted on December 23, 2009. Filed under: Cookies |

This month for the daring bakers we had to make gingerbread. To take it a step further we were supposed to turn the gingerbread into a gingerbread house. Fantastic! I love making gingerbread houses. And to make it from scratch, so exciting. Here is the un-exciting part: I have been sick for almost 14 days. During those 14 days would have been my opportunity to make this gingerbread house. Unfortunately when I am sick my brain sort of takes a long nap until I am better. So I had no brain power to even think about assembling a house of cookies. Bummer. However, I did have the brain power to decorate gingerbread men.

For some reason I had in my head that I wanted to decorate them to reflect what the weather is like here in southern California on Christmas day. What could we potentially do on Christmas day if we weren’t inside with out families eating great food, watching Christmas movies and opening presents? We could go to the beach. How cute, little bikini model gingerbread, perfect, I love it. I am not a good decorator. I will make you a mean tasting cookie, but to decorate it, oh my word don’t let me near them. So I did my best with these. I think they turned out so cute (just don’t look too close).

Scandinavian Gingerbread, from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour

(These are the directions of you are making a gingerbread house. To make the cookies, use cookie cutters instead of cutting out house patterns)

1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

4. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]

5. Preheat the oven to 375’F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing:
1 large egg white
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract (you can use vanilla instead)

Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren’t using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.
*Add food coloring to the icing and stir it in well. Spoon the icing into a ziplock bag or piping bag and decorate! The icing can be used as a glue to glue decorations to the house or men. It dries and hardens quickly.

Here are my models, just hanging out by their surfboards eating some ice cream using their cell phones.


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