Soft, spiced molasses cookies with elegant yet simplistic royal icing decorations.
Wow I can’t believe Christmas is already here. I meant to post many more recipes than I did before Christmas but I’ve been crazy busy. I’m working at the bakery in town again over winter break. And as you can imagine, the holidays are crazy at a bakery specializing in cookies! It has been an absolute blast though. As I said to my parents … “how can I complain when I got to bake cookies all day?”
I don’t know about you, but I like my cookie decorations relatively simple. When the icing gets too elaborate, it takes away from the flavor of the cookies and that’s the only reason to eat a cookie … right? So the rule is … if the cookie takes longer than 90 seconds to decorate, it’s not worth it.
I generally prefer sugar cookies over gingerbread, but you got to have a good gingerbread cookie around the holidays! This recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction because she’s just a genius over there. I unfortunately didn’t have a good gingerbread recipe in the family because we usually go to that awesome sugar cookie recipe before thinking to make gingerbread cookies. I’ve never been a big fan of molasses but it didn’t bother me in this recipe. The flavor of the spices is more powerful and the molasses is sort of an afterthought.
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ginger
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 10 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup molasses (not blackstrap molasses)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1½ Tablespoons meringue powder
- 3-4 Tablespoons warm water
- Food coloring (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before the next step.
- Add in the brown sugar and molasses and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before the next step.
- Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet until fully combined. The dough with be sticky but workable.
- Form dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Chill for 2-3 hours in refrigerator or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Flour a clean, dry surface and a rolling pin very well.
- Take 1 disk out of the refrigerator at a time.
- Roll dough out on a well floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.
- If it sticks the first time or when you have scraps, form it into a ball and roll it out again.
- Cut with cookie cutters and place on the cookie sheets.
- When you get down to the end of dough and don't have enough to keep rolling it out: roll the leftover dough into balls, roll in a little granulated sugar, and bake on the tray with your cutouts for the same amount of time. This makes little gingersnap type cookies.
- Bake for about 9-10 minutes. This time may be less if your cookie cutters are small and longer if your cookie cutters are larger.
- Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
- With an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water together on high until smooth and shiny/glossy, about 3 minutes. If you pull the whisk attachment out of the icing, it should be thick enough that the dripping icing does not immediately meld into the icing in the bowl but not so thick that it is a frosting consistency. If it is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little water.
- Using a piping bag with a Wilton #2 or #3 tip, pipe designs onto the cookies.
- Let the icing dry for 1-2 hours before stacking the cookies.
Recipe Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction