Sunday, January 01, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies & Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
 I always have such grand intentions to make a fresh start every year.  Most of my new year's resolutions are the same year in and year out...which clearly means they are not being accomplished.  Whoops.  However, I haven't given up - and once again I have composed a list of new year's we'll see how well I stick to them!  
One of the things on my list includes improves my cooking and baking skills...and hopefully creating more truly original recipes.  I'd love to take a class or a workshop to learn some fundamental skills.  I also think it would be great to learn more about the science of food so that I can understand the foundation of what makes a good recipe and add my own flare from there.  I have learned a lot over the last year but I know I still have so much to learn!  Last night a friend made king crab for new year's eve - it was my first time eating crab and it is definitely a new favorite!  It has been added to my list of things to make in 2012. :)  I brought these cookies to her house and they were a hit...they were all gone by 2012! 

May you have a happy and blessed 2012! 

Gingerbread Cookies 
Makes 4 to 5 dozen 2-inch cookies

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses

4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heavy cream (add slowly until you reach desired consistency)

1. whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. with an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. add eggs and molasses, and beat to combine. reduce speed to low. gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.

2. divide dough into thirds; flatten each piece into a disk, and wrap in plastic. refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or overnight). dough can be frozen, wrapped tightly in plastic and placed in a resealable plastic bag, up to 3 months. thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

3. on a generously floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one disk of dough to just under 1/4 inch thick. brush off excess flour and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

4. preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. using a 2-inch cookie cutter, quickly cut out shapes from dough and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart, as you work. freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. repeat with remaining disks of dough.

5. bake cookies until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes, firmly tapping down sheets once and rotating them halfway through. transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely before decorating as desired. cookies can be stored up to 1 week at room temperature in airtight containers. 


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