Aaah ’tis the season to run around to 25 different stores spending an arm and a leg looking for that perfect gift for a loved one. WRONG.… Read more “10 affordable gifts for bakers”
What screams the holidays more than a sugared-up cookie? I stumbled upon these cookies from my family recipe tin (see last week’s post Molasses cookies made simple and easy). I really wanted to create fun and unique Christmas holiday cookies complete with Santa’s sleigh and an abominable snowman. After quickly realizing I was not going to find these shapes easily in any store around town I realized I could just make my own cut-outs! You can use this method for any shape and size you’d like. As a bonus, this recipe comes together perfectly to create gingerbread cookies that don’t spread out in the oven.
All this takes is some Googling and scissor skills. When trying to recreate specific characters I find it best to search for your image by cartoon. For example, search for “cartoon Santa sleigh.” This way there are usually limited details in the image, but enough to capture what you need for shape, size and decoration. Once you find the image you want, print it out and cut out the shape.
Place the printed cutout guide on top of rolled-out dough. With a paring knife carefully cut-out the dough around the shape of the paper guide. Once all of your desired shapes are done use a spatula to transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I kept my dough a little on the thicker side since I wanted these to have a nice snappy bite.
Once baked-off to a perfectly crisp gingerbread, design and decorate to your heart’s content. Royal icing works perfectly to add color and artistic flare to the gingerbread. My royal icing piping skills could use some work but I find that it is very forgiving.
Tip: if you want your gingerbread to stand upright for a display or showstopper, use that same sharp paring knife to carefully cut a straight base to the cookie. I found this works best once they are baked since the edges soften as they are in the oven.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup shortening (or unsalted butter)
- 4 tbsp molasses
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp each: cinnamon, cloves, ginger.
If this recipe looks familiar you have a keen eye! This is the same recipe from my recent post Molasses cookies, but without the baking soda. Chill the dough and then roll it out on a floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent these will not spread very much.
350° for 10-12 minutes. For this display, my intention was to have all of the cookies free standing so I baked them off until they were well done but not burnt. For a softer cookie, stick to around 10 minutes!
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Since we will be drinking loads of hot chocolate this holiday season we should probably find something to balance that out. The first thing that comes to mind is a large bucket of marshmallows topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate syrup. As you down that glorious and oh so practical cup of hot chocolate, grab a molasses cookie! Follow this recipe for how to make molasses cookies and you will end up with cookies that have crispy edges and perfectly soft topped with sparkly sugar.
AKA get all of your ingredients together before even thinking about baking! Of course I am kidding. However, I do find it much easier and faster to breeze through a bake if you have all of your ingredients pre-measured so they can be added in one-by-one. In the past I have caught myself trying to measure and read the instructions all at the same time and then wait, was that two or three cups of flour I just added? (more…)
On our spooky creepy journey around Halloween I can’t help but dive deep into the need to bake up a disgustingly delicious treat. There is something about this time of the year where creativity is encouraged and the decrepit has no limits. On a recent trip to my local orchard the rotting apples below the trees kept catching my eye. There’s something about the soft, mushy interior with the wrinkled deep red skin surrounding the apple that is irresistible. This got me to thinking…how can I make something edible that also looks absolutely repulsive? How about make a rotten apple!
If you are still here and not hiding under a blanket from how SCARY that spider is, then grab your tea and a biscuit and tuck in cause this one is a doozy. The base of the apple is a choux pastry (see my method and recipe under Orange Puffs: Choux). (more…)