Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone it's been a little while since I've posted! I wanted to try some simple designs for sugar & gingerbread cookies this year. They were a hit at work! Recipes below from my good friend Irene! The sugar cookie dough is much easier to work with - you just have to work it a little once it comes out of the fridge, while the gingerbread dough is a little more crumbly.

Happy holidays & wishing you all a holiday filled with family, friends & food - best combination I know of!

Toronto Foodie Girl

Gingerbread cookies
Yield: 24
Gingerbread Cookies
• 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Gingerbread Cookies
1. Cream shortening (or butter) and sugar until fluffy and beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in molasses and ginger until evenly blended. In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and add to molasses mixture, stirring just until dough comes together. Shape dough into 2 discs and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling.
2. Preheat oven to 375 °F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disc to just over 1/8-inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If using cookies as decoration, put a small hole where a string will go to tie it). Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are firm to touch. Allow to cool completely.

Sugar Cookies
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown
Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 9 min
Level: Easy
Serves: about 3 dozen-2 1/2 inch
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 tablespoon milk
• 1 tsp vanilla
• Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg, milk & vanilla and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Royal Icing Using Meringue Powder:

- 4 cups (440 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) meringue powder
- 1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon, almond)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup (120 - 180 ml) warm water

For Royal Icing with Meringue Powder:

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined. Add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form (5 to 7 minutes). If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water. To cover or 'flood' the entire surface of the cookie with icing, the proper consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before disappearing.

The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
Makes about 3 cups