Monday, December 24, 2012

gingerbread christmas trees

If you are looking for a cookie to make today... one that will permeate the house with all things Christmas, one that will allow tiny hands to easily roll out and cut shapes, one that will be a hands-down success, you have found the perfect recipe!

Last year, I was given an issue of Food Network Magazine, and it highlighted gingerbread men with some of the cutest ideas for decorating them.  I would love to think that next year I might tackle a couple of the designs (they're pretty involved), but this year I kept them simple to add to my Rise 'n Shine goodie bags.  I have always, always loved the look of brown paper, twine, red and green yarns and felts, especially at Christmastime.  These rich, dark brown cookies were a perfect accompaniment.

I do believe the most exciting part of this endeavor was the Royal Icing.  I've tried it before, and it's gone just okay... but this time, it worked beautifully.  I'm really pumped now to try different sugar cookie designs using this icing.  I'm hoping the batch wasn't just a fluke and it will be just as easy next time around.

Tomorrow, I plan to share with you my absolute favorite cookie for the holiday season.  It dates all the way back to the 1600's...  so cool, unique, and extremely delicious!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Gingerbread Christmas Trees - 
makes approximately 10 large trees

For the cookies
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp melted shortening
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
~ Sift flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a bowl.  
~ In another bowl, mix butter and shortening along with the brown sugar and molasses.
~ Beat in egg with mixer.
~ Beat in the flour mixture in two additions.
~ Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and pat to a 1/2 inch thick disc.  Chill 2 hours.
~ Preheat the oven to 350 F.
~ On floured surface, roll out each disc to 1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour, if needed.  
~ Cut gingerbread in desired shapes and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. 
    Brush off excess flour.
~ Chill 15 minutes.
~ Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to a rack 
   and cool.

For the Icing
  • 2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 1 pound confectioner's sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
~ Sift meringue powder and sugar in a large bowl.  
~ Beat in the water with a mixer until glossy with soft peaks.
~ Transfer icing to a resealable plastic bag or icing bag.  Fit with desired tip or snip off 
    corner of plastic bag tip and pipe.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine.