“It’s the holiday season…may the calendar keep bringing Happy Holidays to you…”
~ Andy Williams, Happy Holiday
Can you believe it’s that time of year again? Thanksgiving is exactly 5 days away, Christmas is almost 5 weeks away, and there’s only a little over a month until the New Year! Is it just me, or does it feel like someone took the “remote control” of Life and pressed fast forward on the first 11 months of the 2015-year?
Regardless, I will still welcome December with a wink and a smile along with a very out of tune rendition of Andy Williams’ holiday classic “Happy Holiday.” This, along with some holiday baking, is the only proper way to make the transition into the Christmas season a smooth one.
To get yourself in the holiday spirit, I recommend trying this very easy and very fun recipe for gingerbread cookies courtesy of RealSimple.com. You could cut them into whatever shape you prefer, but I will be showing you the how-to’s of this recipe using gingerbread men cookie cutters. The recipe for vanilla royal icing is also included courtesy of FoodNetwork.com. Happy Cooking!
GINGERBREAD COOKIES RECIPE
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the work surface
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the molasses and egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut into shapes; place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake until firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
- Decorate cookies as desired and let set, icing recipe below.
- Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
ROYAL ICING RECIPE
- 3 ounces egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy-duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.