Monday, December 19, 2011
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
I've been trying to psych myself up for making these cookies for weeks now. It's not that I didn't want to make them--it was more like I wanted to make them for Christmas, and without snow here I haven't felt festive enough to do it. Finally, I buckled down and made them--and am delighted. They were much easier than I'd built them up to be in my mind, and they're so festive that I almost forget that we still don't have snow.
While the cookies are cooling, you can make the frosting. Some frostings call for meringue powder. I steered clear from using that, since it's expensive and also tends to go bad in my kitchen (I don't decorate cookies often.) This recipe uses egg whites. The sugar in the frosting is a natural preservative for the frosting, so you shouldn't have to worry about the raw whites. If you don't want to use raw eggs, though, I'd look for a recipe that uses meringue powder, or just use a simple frosting of powdered sugar, water, and flavoring.
A bit of cream of tartar will help the whites whip.
The other great thing about this frosting is that it's so easy to manage. And it dries in about five minutes.
With just a little effort (and some fun piping!) I've got some nice, festive holiday cookies!
Recipe: Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. molasses
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp. ginger
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Recipe: Decorating Icing
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 bag powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses. Stir in egg. Stream in melted chocolate.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cocoa, and spices. Stir until combined. Add flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture a cup at at time, stirring just until combined. Chill dough at least 1 hour.
Turn refrigerated dough onto well-floured work surface. Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll out dough to desired thickness. Cut out cookies and move to lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly before moving to cooling racks.
In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Whisk on high for 5-8 minutes or until frosting is stiff and shiny. Transfer to piping bag or squeeze bottle to decorate cookies. Keep frosting covered with moist towel when not using.