Of the many things that say it’s Christmas time to me Gingerbread Cookies rank right up there with Frosty and Rudolph. I love ginger and gingerbread and, to be honest, my absolute favorite gingerbread cookies are these Ginger Snaps by Alton Brown. However, those are a ginger drop cookie, and as good as they are sometimes you need a lovely gingerbread that can be shaped, but isn’t so dry and hard that you can use it as construction material.
Enter my Grownup Gingerbread cookies. Why Grownup? Because these are serious gingerbread, people. They are made with dark brown sugar, and black strap molasses and a whole tablespoon of powdered ginger. We are not messing around with flavor here, but they are flavors that sometimes small children don’t care for. But fear not, the kids can still be involved in all the rolling and shaping and decorating (which my daughter thinks is the best part anyway) and then you can enjoy a wonderful ginger and molasses treat with your hot chocolate.
These start out as a nicely chewy cookie. If you want a bit more snap, just leave them on the counter to dry out for a day versus packing them into an airtight container.
Don’t forget to leave a few out for Santa. You know he knows his gingerbread!
Grownup Gingerbread Cookies with Ultra Gel
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon ground ginger (The good stuff people!)
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg and allspice)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
12 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup molasses (blackstrap if you want a dark cookie, non blackstrap if you don’t like the flavor)
1-2 Tablespoons milk (as needed)
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon Ultra Gel
5 egg whites*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter and sugar and whip until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Add vanilla and molasses and beat, scraping down sides at least once. Sift in dry ingredients and milk as needed to bring together into a soft dough.
Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
Roll dough into a sheet 1/4 inch thick. Punch out Christmas shapes with cookie cutters. Move shapes to a baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Reroll scraps until they’re all used up or dough begins to toughen.
Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool and set aside.
Pour powdered sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer on hand and mix lightly with salt and Ultra Gel. Make a well in the center. Separate eggs (Keep the yolks for pound cake! or custard!) placing whites in the middle of the dry ingredients. Mix just to combine then turn to full speed and whip for 3 minutes. You don’t want to over whip the icing because that can trap bubbles and make it hard to pipe later. Scrape down sides at least twice during this process. Add vanilla and mix.
Icing can then be colored (gel or powdered colors work better) and used immediately. Alternatively move to an air tight container and press plastic wrap against the icing before lidding and move to the fridge. This will generally keep in the fridge for upto a week.
*I recommend using pasteurized eggs and don’t fret at all about the fact these are raw. If you are concerned you can use pasteurized egg white mix or meringue powder in place.