Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tis the Season for Easy, Last-Minute Gingerbread

photo by Anthony Palatta

If you're in need of an easy and pretty cookie to bake for the holidays, look no further. I recently tried out this recipe from Everyday Food for gingerbread Christmas trees, and it was a winner. It also makes a TON of cookies.

You start by mixing together flour, salt, and baking soda with spices: ginger, cinnamon, and a surprising amount of cloves for a nice kick.

Next, mix the batter, which has butter, sugar, an egg, and just a quarter cup of unsulfured molasses, which was perfect. I've made other gingerbread that has more molasses than that, and I found it way too much. Stir in your flour, refrigerate for an hour, and you're good to roll.

I found the trickiest part of the recipe was figuring out how to cut the dough into triangle shapes. I decided to first cut the dough into long rectangular strips, about three inches wide, and then cut from there. Also, the recipe said to add sprinkles after the cookies were bakes and cooled, which made no sense to me. How would they adhere? I added mine before baking.

Watch your cookies. Mine cooked faster than the time suggested in the recipe, but then I have a rogue oven. When they're completely cool, set them on sheets of parchment or wax paper and drizzle with stripes of lemon icing. I found the icing in the recipe a bit tart, even for me, a lemon lover. I might look for another recipe there.

Also, if you want more even stripes, fill a plastic bag with the icing, cut off the tip, and carefully apply it to each tree. I found it easier to dip a spoon into the icing and sweep it across several cookies at once, like drizzling melted chocolate.

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