Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gingerbread Cookie Cut-Outs

In case you were wondering if it's possible to substitute treacle for molasses, the answer is yes.  And, in case you're looking for a really good gingerbread dough recipe, the one from Cookie Madness is fantastic.  The dough is really easy to work with (a two year old and four year old were able to work with it no problem), hardly requires any chill time, and makes a really good cookie.  This recipe is a keeper.

The only modifications I made were:

1.  Substituting treacle for molasses (apparently they're pretty close and I couldn't find any molasses)
2.  Heating the egg for the royal icing over a double boiler.  I didn't have any pasteurized eggs, so I whisked the normal egg whites in a double boiler with a thermometer until they reached 145 degrees F.  I don't know if that means they're safe, but the eggs whites were starting to cook so I removed them from the heat.

Update:  The recipe from cookiemadness.net is listed below:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 stick (4 oz) butter, cut up
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 to 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

Place sugar, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice in a 2-3 quart
saucepan. Set saucepan over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil,
stirring often as it heats. When mixture starts to boil, remove from heat
and stir in baking soda. Mixture will fizz up and become very airy. Stir in
butter and allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.

Dump slightly cooled sugar/molasses mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in
lightly beaten egg. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until mixture forms a
not-too-sticky dough. Form dough into two equal sections. Wrap tightly and
chill until ready to use, or use right away if you need to. The dough is
easier to work with after it's been refrigerated, however, it's manageable
without the chill period.

When ready to cut, pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll dough into 3/8 to
1/2 inch thick circles and cut out shapes. Bake on a Silpat or Parchment
lined cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes or until cookies appear done. The
cookies thicken during baking, so keep that in mind when you are rolling out
the dough.

1/3 cup Just Whites egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar plus extra as needed for thickening
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low, until incorporated. Increase mixer speed and beat in vanilla. Add more sugar as needed to get the consistency for outlining.
Spoon a portion of the icing into a decorating bag fitted with a round tip. This thicker icing will be your outline.
With a tiny bit of water, thin the remaining icing and divide among cups. Dye the icing different colors using gel food coloring. Spoon it into decorating bags fitted with round tips. This thinner icing will be your fill.
Using the thicker icing, outline the shapes and let them sit on a cooling rack until the icing dries.
Fill outlines with colored icing by squeezing it in between outlines and using a toothpick to carefully brush it up against the ends.
This is an easy royal icing. I've tried versions made with meringue powder, but the flavor of this is better (especially if you use good vanilla).

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