Iced Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread cookies are lightly sweet, laced with the flavors of molasses and spice. Here, a bit of whole wheat flour is easily disguised by the spices. Use your favorite cutters to make little figures, or stars or whatever strikes your fancy. Royal icing is traditionally made with raw egg whites (see Notes for raw egg alternatives), which dries to a glossy, smooth finish.
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups powdered sugar
1 large pasteurized egg white* (see Notes below), or 2 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water, approximately
- In a large bowl, combine the unbleached and whole wheat pastry flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Whisk to mix well, reserve. In a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric beater, cream the butter until soft. Add the brown sugar and beat, scraping and mixing until well-mixed. Add the molasses and beat, scrape down and add the egg, beat again until thoroughly combined. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture. Divide the dough into four pieces. Form a rectangle of each and place between sheets of parchment and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Stack the dough rectangles, separated by parchment paper, on a baking pan and wrap tightly, chill for three hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Carefully remove the parchment from the top of each dough sheet, lay the dough on the counter and use cookie cutters to cut shapes. Use a thin metal spatula to transfer cut cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave an inch of space between the cookies. Press the scraps of dough together and roll out again; cut cookies.
- Bake for 6 minutes, then switch the position of the pans between upper and lower oven racks and bake for 6 minutes more. These cookies are a tad thick, so you might need another 2 minutes to get them crisp. When cookies are slightly puffed and look dry, cool on racks on the pan for five minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.
- When the cookies are cool, mix the powdered sugar with egg whites or meringue powder in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric beater. Gradually mix in lemon juice and water, a tablespoon at a time, to make your desired consistency. To pipe on the icing, transfer to a piping bag with a small round tip, or use a zip-top bag with a small corner cut off, and decorate.
- Allow icing to dry, then store, tightly covered, for four days, or freeze for a month. If raw eggs are used, eat or freeze within 24 hours.
Tips & Notes
Raw eggs are not recommended for pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems, so if you wish to avoid raw eggs, either use meringue powder in place of the egg whites or use a glaze or buttercream frosting.
This recipe was reprinted, with permission, from Welcome to the Table by National Co-op Grocers.
Yield: 48 servings