SWEET and SPICY GINGERBREAD COOKIES
Cookies to Die For!
by Bev Shaffer
A sweet and sassy gingerbread dough, the enticing baking aromas will fill your home with a festive spirit.
Makes about 1½ dozen.
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 2 tsp. ground ginger
• 1 tsp. finely ground black pepper
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
• 1 large egg
• 1/3 cup molasses
• 2¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
• 4 tsp. meringue powder
• 3 tbsp. cold water
Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl, then add the ginger, pepper, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat until combined.
Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Add the flour, scraping sides of bowl occasionally, until mixed.
Divide dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; flatten to 1/2". Chill dough for 4 hours (up to 24 hours) until easy to handle.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thick, one disk at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated). Cut with floured gingerbread cookie cutters (house, boys, or girls).
Bake for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on shape and size) until tops of cookies appear dry. Cool 1 minute, then remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool completely.
For the Icing
Makes 2 cups
Using an electric mixer, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder. Add 3 tbsp. of cold water.
Beat on low speed until mixture is combined, then beat on medium-high speed for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture forms stiff peaks.
If mixture seems too stiff while beating, add additional water cautiously, 1/2 tsp. at a time. Icing should be fairly thick for piping. For a thinner glaze consistency, stir in a little more water before beating.
When not using, keep tightly covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
When cookies are cool, decorate as desired.