Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010: Gingerbread Men and Sugar Cookies


Christmas would not be complete for me without frosted sugar cookies. And even though I knew I had to work every day during the ten days leading up to Christmas, I was determined to make them. And not only sugar cookies, but gingerbread cookies as well. I had the best laid plans. I would make the dough on the 22nd, cut out and bake the cookies and make the frosting on the 23rd, decorate the cookies on the 24th, and eat the cookies on the 25th.

Well, as you probably guessed, things went awry.

Somehow, I ended up making the dough, cutting out the cookies, baking the cookies, and making the frosting between 10pm and 2am on December 23. I couldn't see my countertop. My lazy, glue-like substitute for royal icing was everywhere. Everywhere. I forgot to buy shortening and was short a 1/2 cup of molasses. It wasn't pretty, and it certainly wasn't going according to plan. But at least I could still look forward to decorating the cookies on Christmas Eve with my sister.

Little did I know that Christmas Eve had other plans for my sister and me. (No, it should not say my sister and I. Check it.) These plans included, but were not limited to, an epic search for the last iPod nano on South Hill, a detour to Burger King to obtain ice for the finger on which my sister shut a car door, and a last minute stop at Safeway in hopes of finding anything resembling sourdough bread.

Needless to say, I was feeling a bit Grinchy at that point. But some time later, the Christmas spirit worked its magic, and the cookie decorating happened. And they turned out to be very cute and very delicious, just as I had hoped. Christmas was saved.













Mary's Sugar Cookies
Adapated from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Cream butter in a mixer at medium speed for about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, and continue creaming about 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond, and mix until fully incorporated.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Divide the dough in half, and place one half on a floured surface. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters, and place the cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

5. Bake the cookies 7-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Cool completely before frosting.

Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

1/3 cup butter
1 cup  brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1. Cream butter in a mixer at medium speed for about 1 minute. Add brown sugar, and cream 1-2 minutes more. Add molasses and maple syrup, and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer to low speed, and add the water.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix just until incorporated.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Divide the dough in half, and place one half on a floured surface. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters, and place the cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

5. Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes, or until no impression remains when touched lightly. Cool completely before icing.

1 comment:

  1. We use Ethel's Sugar Cookie recipe. It's WAY better. ;)

    ReplyDelete