Gingerbread cookies are perhaps the most popular cookie ever made during the Christmas season. We couldn't resist adding our recipe for them here on our blog. This recipe is one that is fantastic for making ahead of the busy holiday bustle and keeping the baked cookies in your freezer until you're ready to decorate them. This recipe is unique in that we use just a little lemon zest in the dough to give it European twist, making it perfectly sophisticated enough for adding to your cookie plates and dessert platters, while still being homestyle enough to eat with Santa. Use gingerbread cookies to decorate the sides of a cake or add a few to the Christmas tree hung by a bow. They really do brighten the season.
Gingerbread Cutout Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cup molasses
8 cups Texas Pure Milling all-purpose flour
1 ½ Tbsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tbsp. lemon zest, fine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 to 2 large egg whites, or substitute 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla or lemon juice
Directions: In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight or until easy to handle.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters.
Use a spatula to transfer cut cookies to parchment lined cookie sheet. Place 1 in. apart.
Wash and sanitize work surfaces after handling raw dough and flour.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Decorate cookies. Yield: 5 dozen.
If freezing to make ahead: Layer cool cookies in a large rectangular Rubbermaid container with pieces of parchment paper separating the cookies between layers
Make frosting: Combine all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Decorate cookies with sprinkles and candies as desired. Allow to dry completely before transferring to serving dishes.