Classic Gingerbread Cookies

Classic Gingerbread CookiesThere’s nothing I look forward to more than savoring a chewy gingerbread cookie during the holidays, and maybe a slice of Bolo Rei {the Portuguese version of fruit cake} loaded with crystalized fruits and nuts. But when it comes to the winter, the rich combination of warming spices and fresh ginger flavors of gingerbread cookies, make me feel like a child leaving cookies for Santa again and reminds me of everything beautiful about Christmas. Which explains why it’s my favorite cookie, and the most requested one amongst family and friends. So much so, that I’ve been rolling out snowflake cookies covered with icing and dusted with snowy sugar all month-long. Classic Gingerbread CookiesJust like pie dough, making gingerbread cookies soothe me and make me happy, especially when I’m singing along to Christmas carols. My kitchen literally transforms into a scene from a holiday movie, and the little girl filled with the spirit of Christmas comes out, I know slightly cheesy but it’s so true. 

Classic Gingerbread CookiesOf all the cookies and desserts I may make, these gingerbread cookies take the longest, but seeing the excited smiles as I bring a large tray out, makes it all worth while. And I’m not sure what it is, but every year the flavor in these cookies becomes richer, cozier, and everything the holidays should taste like. I first introduced my classic gingerbread cookies on my blog two years ago, when I was still trying to find my photography and writing style, passionate about my favorite time of the year. Sometimes when I read older posts, I smile at how much my own words inspire and teach me about myself, and how much I’ve learned along the way. It’s been two Christmases since I’ve talked about my favorite things, and still they’re being shared on the table with my family this year, including these cookies. Classic Gingerbread CookiesSince they’re not only my favorite but a signature of mine, it was time I’ve used what I’ve learned and give these cookies a post of their own. They’re the cookie that satisfies the dessert connoisseur, the non-chocolate eater, and the one who prefers to skip the sweet stuff. I can’t say these cookies are so delicious because of just the fresh and ground ginger, the cloves or the molasses, but every ingredient makes a crucial part in the final flavor, and without one it just isn’t the same. I love the flavor of gingerbread so much, that I’ve even created a healthy morning smoothie, since cookies for breakfast just isn’t acceptable everyday. But there’s only a few more days until Christmas and smoothies just won’t cut it out, these cookies must be savored and eaten. 

And I know all you entertainers and holiday masters have got your menus finalized and even doughs already pre made, because let’s face it, that’s where I am, but if you have the time and really want to make loved ones of all ages smile, you need to make these classic gingerbread cookies. Classic Classic Gingerbread CookiesGingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread CookiesClassic Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients {Makes about 5 dozen}

1 1/4 cups – All Purpose Flour {recipe works well with only all-purpose flour}

1 1/4 cups – Whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons – Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon – Salt

1 1/4 teaspoons – Ground Cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons – Ground Ginger

1 teaspoon – Ground Allspice

1/4 teaspoon – Ground Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon – Ground Cloves

2 sticks – Unsalted Butter {room temperature}

3/4 cup – Granulated Sugar

3/4 cup – Dark Brown Sugar {packed}

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon – Grated Fresh Ginger

1 large – Egg

1/4 cup – Unsulfured Molasses

Royal Icing {recipe below}, Colored Sugars, Candy, etc. to decorate

Recipe

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl, set aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugars, and fresh ginger, on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed {about 3 minutes} Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, in two batches, with the mixer on low-speed beating until just incorporated, and you no longer see clumps of flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a large round. Divide the dough in half, shape into flat disks, wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Pre-heat your oven to 350*F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator, let stand to soften slightly {this will make it easier to roll, and prevent cracking}. Roll dough to 1/4” thickness on a lightly floured surface, moving dough around to prevent it from sticking. Remove the second disk from the refrigerator and follow the same steps. Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes, and place cut out cookies onto a baking sheet.

Bake, rotating halfway, until golden brown. For a chewier gingerbread cookie, bake for about 12 minutes, for a crisper cookie bake for about 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely before decorating as desired. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5-7 days.

Royal Icing 

Ingredients {Makes about 2 1/2 cups}

1 pound – Confectioner’s Sugar {sifted}

5 tablespoons – Meringue Powder

1/2 cup – Water

Food Coloring {optional}

Recipe {Adapted from Martha Stewart}

In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, meringue powder and water and beat on low-speed with paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy {about 7 to 8 minutes}.

For a thin icing, to use to fill in, stir an additional teaspoon of water one at a time until desired consistency. Test consistency of icing by lifting spoon, allowing icing to drip into bowl, a ribbon should remain on the surface for a few seconds. If coloring icing, dip toothpick or wooden skewer into coloring and mix until desired shade.

Cover bowl of icing with moist paper towel while using as it hardens quickly when exposed to air. Store leftover icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Stir well before using again.


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