Thursday, December 11, 2008
ABC Gingerbread Men
I'm not sure when these cookie cutters hit the markets, but I know they were pretty popular last year. I knew I wanted a set of my very own for this Christmas, so I ordered them from Amazon a couple of weeks ago so that I too could make the slightly disturbing, but very cute gingerbread men. Maybe I should have made my gingerbread men with smiles instead of frowns, but I kept thinking that they would be even more disturbing looking if they were happy about being eaten... or maybe I'm giving the gingerbread men far too much credit for emotions...
I even managed to keep the scope of this project under control since I frequently get in over my head once I start making and decorating cookie cutouts. This time I only made one batch of gingerbread cookie dough (from my KAF Cookies Book) and only one color of frosting -- just to keep things easier.
The cookies are quite good, the frosting came from my Cookie Craft book (the book to buy if you want to learn how to decorate cookies with royal icing) and together they work wonderfully together. Oh... and the title ABC Gingerbread Men is the name of the cookie cutters: Already Been Chewed.
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
In a saucepan set over low heat, or in the microwave, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar, molasses, salt and spices. Transfer the mixture to a medium sized mixing bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then beat in the egg.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda, then stir these into the wet ingredients. Divide the dough in half and wrap well. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
Preheat oven to 375. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to the desired thickness -- thicker dough = softer cookies. Sprinkle flour on the surface of the counter and the dough and rotate it often to prevent sticking. Cut the cookies with the cutout, and transfer to a baking sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes -- depending on the size of the cookies, until the edges are set.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before decorating.
2 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar
1 tsp powdered egg whites
3 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1-2 tsps extract
Put all the ingredients in the mixer and blend on medium high for 5 minutes. Put the frosting into airtight containers immediately or it will dry out.