Is it even Christmas if the sugar isn’t flowing and the cookie jar isn’t stocked? I’m not much of a baker – cooking is much more interesting to me – but my mom could compete on the Great British Baking Show and win.
Although she’s a wizard for creating new recipes, there’s nothing like traditional cookies like gingerbread and classic cutout cookies decorated with festive colors and designs.
I don’t even think mom uses a recipe anymore, the blueprint for these cookies are etched into her mind, but I found a similar recipe for gingerbread to the ones she uses if you’re looking for a fun and easy activity to do during the upcoming weekend.
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(optional) zest of one small orange
optional toppings: simple icing (see below), red hots, sprinkles, etc.
SIMPLE ICING RECIPE:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add in eggs, molasses and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.
Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once the dough is thoroughly chilled and you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick.
Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more. Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once the cookies are room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing and serve. Or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.