Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sweet Snowflakes to usher in the New Year



Annually, during this time of the year, I feel like a kid in a toy store with all the flour, sugar and baking supplies strewn all over the kitchen. I am not sure how I managed before in my tiny kitchen but I suppose necessity is the mother of all invention. As much as I look forward to baking, I look forward most to sorting out my silver dragees and sitting down and putting up my weary feet to decorate these gingerbread snowflakes.


These were actually done just in time for Christmas but I didn't have a chance to tell you about it before.
So before the year is out and with all the snow we got, I think this is the perfect treat to leave you with which are spicy, satisfying and warming in the cold, and sweet and delightful to usher in a wonderful new year.


I have tried many recipes over the years and I don't know why I never tried this recipe from the cookie master himself - Nick Malgieri. They taste much better than the ones I've made over the years and the dough is wonderfully manageable and easy to work with and it is just simply delicious. Fortunately, the recipe is available on his website here. For convenience sake, it's also quoted below.

Gingerbread Cookies
adapted from Nick Malgieri
Makes about 24 large cookies, depending on the size cutter used

Ingredients

5 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

4 teaspoons ground ginger - I increased it to 6 teaspoons for a spicier bite

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2/3 cup molasses


2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans lined with parchment or foil


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Stir well to mix.
  2. Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until well mixed, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition. Scrape down bowl and beater.
  3. Lower speed and beat in about half the flour mixture. Beat in all the molasses then scrape bowl and beater. Add the remaining flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, and beat after each addition until it has all been absorbed.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give the dough a final mixing with a large rubber spatula. Scrape half the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and press it to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap the dough securely and repeat with the remaining dough. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or for up to 3 days.
  5. When you are ready to bake the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  6. Unwrap one of the pieces of dough and cut it in half. Rewrap one of the halves and return it to the refrigerator.
  7. On a floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Use a floured gingerbread "man" or "woman" cutter to cut the cookies. As they are cut, place the cut cookies on the prepared pans with about 1 inch between them on all sides. Repeat with remaining dough. Save, press together, and reroll scraps (they don't need to be chilled before rerolling).
  8. Bake the cookies until they become dull and dry looking and feel slightly firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 12 to 15 minutes. If you overbake the cookies, they will be very dry. Slide papers from pans onto racks to cool.
  9. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover.

7 comments:

Anonymous January 13, 2010 at 9:28 AM  

These are very beautiful looking cookies that you decorated! I've never attempted at decorative icing but my guess is that it does take some talents, creativity and patience.....which I don't think I posses any of those qualities!

sarah December 27, 2010 at 4:04 PM  

I can't believe these! Where did you learn how to cook? Do you have a bakery?

Sze Lin January 2, 2011 at 3:11 PM  

My bakery is called my kitchen and I am self taught and learned the basics of cooking and baking from my dear mother. I do accept special orders and catering service if I have the time. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Delphine March 4, 2011 at 10:56 PM  

They are scrumptiously gorgeous! How gifted you are ...

Ann Vor December 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM  

Wow!!! How do you make the icing, please? Ann (South Africa)

emariego November 6, 2014 at 5:02 PM  

Where did you get those cookie cutters?!?

Hazel Koh November 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM  

These are absolutely beautiful! :)

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