What is it about this time of year that makes me want to become Martha Stewart, Paula Dean, and Julia Child, all wrapped up into one?
As the holidays approach I suddenly feel an inexplicable and implusive need to bake cookies, make handmade salted caramels, and create fancy, petite appetizers (all of which I would not normally eat and for which I do not remotely possess the skills to make)!
My current need to bake, combined with my incessant need to read Food Network Magazine this past week, and taken in combination with Meatless Monday, means I have found the perfect recipe for today’s post. It’s a recipe for eating people (ginger people) rather than animals, so what could be more perfect (a bit irreverent, but I couldn’t resist)?
Mix: Sift 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon each baking soda and salt, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice into a bowl. In another bowl, mix 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon melted shortening, 2/3 cup light brown sugar and 3/4 cup molasses; beat in 1 egg with a mixer. Beat in the flour mixture in two additions. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic and pat to 1/2 inch thick. Chill 2 hours.
Cut: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to 1/4 inch thick, dusting with flour, if needed. Cut into 3-to-5-inch gingerbread men and arrange 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush off excess flour and chill 15 minutes.
Bake: Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool, then decorate with Royal Icing.
Royal Icing: Sift 2 tablespoons meringue powder (found in the baking aisle or at crafts stores) and 1 pound confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Beat in 6 tablespoons water with a mixer until glossy with soft peaks. Tint with food coloring, if desired.
To Draw: Transfer the icing to a resealable plastic bag; snip the tip of one corner. For dots, hold the bag at a 90 degree angle. For outlines, hold it at a 45 degree angle. Pipe onto the cooled cookies.
To Fill: Draw an outline with the icing, then thin the icing with milk or water until it’s the consistency of glue and spread inside the outline with a paintbrush.
I am making these cookies after I get off work tonite. I tried to make them last night, but we were missing all of the ingredients except flour, which goes to show you that baking really is a once-a-year thing for me.
You can even sign up for a newsletter to get, you guessed it, 12 days of cookie recipes sent via your inbox.