My daughter always gets so excited when I make gingerbread cookies. And rightly so. A tray of decorating options usually accompanies gingerbread cookies. M&M’s, different sprinkles, (especially those pretty silver balls) and as many different colors of royal icing as mom is in the mood to make. This year it was three. Last year I picked up some fun Wilton icing bottles which made decorating cookies for kids so much easier and slightly less messy. Only slightly. What would be the fun if you didn’t get more icing on you then on your cookies, right?
Welcome to day #6 for the 12 Days of Easy Christmas Cookies! I decided to share some my family’s favorite traditional cookie recipes like Thimble Cookies (aka Bird’s Nests) and Shortbread, and also try out some new recipes like Eggnog Snickerdoodles and Hugs & Kisses Cookies. If you’re not already signed up to receive email updates, might I suggest you do? You don’t want to miss out! You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Gingerbread was a memory from my childhood. Especially when it came to Gingerbread houses. When I was sixteen, my cousins and I got together and baked a Gingerbread house (and decorated it) from scratch. It’s a lot of work but oh so rewarding in the end! Have you noticed you always buy way too much candy too? I guess that’s one of the perks of being the designer and decorator for a Gingerbread house.
At first we were going to make a Gingerbread Merry-Go-Round. Execution was a flop so we moved on to making a house. I think it was our “glue” that we used. Our horse cookies just would not stick to our candy cane sticks. I’ve recently found two Royal Icing recipes that are fantastic!! I didn’t realize true Royal Icing calls for raw egg white in their icing. I also figured out egg whites can be substituted with meringue powder. The recipe below should be made for children, pregnant women, or anyone with compromised immune systems. (So that includes anyone who is receiving (or recently received) treatment for cancer or has recently had a bone marrow transplant, or so many other reasons a person can have a compromised immune system)
My daughter had so much fun decorating her cookies! I think she ate more candies then what ended up on her cookies but ‘tis the season, right? These cookies are made from real ginger which gives them a delicious spicy flavor. They are soft and firm all at the same time. If I were making a house I would probably bake a little longer just so they were extra stiff. Now that I think about it, today’s a Snow Day (which means school is cancelled for my kids…) whatever will I do to occupy them all day long?? Make more Gingerbread Cookies!! Happy eating!
3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp clear vanilla extra
1/3 cup water, less 1 tbsp
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Adjust the consistency by adding more icing sugar or water (a tsp at a time) until you get the desired consistency. Divide into smaller separate bowls if you wish to have multiple icing colors.
The measurements above gave me a great “piping” consistency for edging or detail work. Thin it out a little more if you want to “flood” with your icing.
- ½ cup Shortening or butter , softened
- ½ cup White sugar
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup Blackstrap molasses
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Grated fresh ginger
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ¾ tsp Baking soda
- ¼ tsp Ground cloves
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, sugar, egg, molasses, vanilla and fresh ginger until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.