Politically Correct Gingerbread

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I didn’t want to piss off the feminists and make gingerbread men so I made a generic shape. Who am I kidding? I didn’t have a man shaped cookie cutter.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg

Decorating sugar or sprinkles (optional)

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap; pat into an 8-inch square. Wrap well; chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured parchment or waxed paper; roll out 1/8 inch thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, about 20 minutes.

Loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets. Decorate with sugar or sprinkles, as desired.

Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10 to 18 minutes, depending on size. Cool completely on baking sheets.

I used this recipe.

Almond and Citrus Cloud Cookies

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

10 ounces almond paste

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

¼ teaspoon almond extract

powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together granulated sugar, zest, and scraped vanilla seeds.  Use your fingers to works the zest and vanilla into the sugar, creating a fragrant, moist sugar.

Place sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the almond paste and salt.  Beat on medium speed creating a crumbly sugar and almond mixture.

While almond mixture is combining in the mixer, place two egg whites in a small bowl.  Whisk with a fork until loose and frothy.  This will help in pouring the egg whites into the mixer.

With the mixer on medium speed, gradually pour the egg whites in to the crumbly almond and sugar mixture.  Beat until a smooth paste is formed.  Add the almond extract and beat to combine.

Scoop batter by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  Using the tips of three of your fingers, make indentations in each cookie.

Bake cookies for 20 to 25 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan.  Cookies will last for 5 days if stored in an air tight container.

I worked with this recipe.

Linzer Tart Cookies

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Tart? Torte? Who the hell cares? They are delicious. These are for you, Debbie.

1 ¼ cups butter, softened

2/3 cup white sugar

2 cups flour

1 ¾ cups ground almonds

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons raspberry jam

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Beat butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, the ground almonds, and cinnamon. Mix in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture becomes a slightly stiff dough.

Shape the dough into a ball; divide it in half. Wrap both halves in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a sheet 1/8 inch thick. With a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles from the sheet as you can. Knead the leftover scraps of dough into a ball and roll it out again into a 1/8 inch sheet. Cut out more circles. You should now have about 12 circles.

Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Refrigerate while working with remaining dough.

Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other half of the dough, but after placing the second batch on the baking sheet, cut out the center of each circle with a 1/2 inch cookie cutter.

Bake cookies in preheated oven until light brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.

Spread a thin coating of jam on each of the cookie rounds. Set a cutout cookie on top of each, pressing the two together so they make a sandwich. Spoon a dab of jam into the opening of each tart and sprinkle the tops with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

I worked with this recipe.

Wise-Ass Shortbread

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Lemon, Orange, and Lime zest gives this traditional cookie a bit of attitude.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of lemon, lime, orange

ICING:

1 tablespoon each of lemon, lime, and orange juice

1/2 cup powdered sugar
INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar and citrus zest until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and use a cookie cutter or small juice glass to cut out cookies. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature. Mix citrus juice with powdered sugar until smooth (add more or less depending on consistency –should drizzle nicely).  Drizzle over cookies and leave to harden.

I altered this recipe.

Pucker Up, Poppy

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The cookie version of a slap.

INGREDIENTS

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour

zest of two lemons

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cream butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla followed by poppy seeds, lemon zest and lemon juice. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Working on a smooth surface, form each piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick. (Get the thickness right, and the length you end up with will be fine.) Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  4. Using a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies about 1/3 inch thick.
  5. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.

I altered this recipe.

Honey, I Baked the Cookies

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)
  • ¼ toasted coconut

DIRECTIONS

Toast ¼ cup of coconut and set aside.

Cream together honey, brown sugar, and shortening. Beat in egg.

Add, flour, baking powder, teaspoon baking soda, and salt.

Mix in nuts and toasted coconut.

Shape the dough into a roll or loaf.

Allow the dough to ripen for a day or two in the refrigerator before you slice and bake it in a hot oven (400°F) for 10 to 12 minutes.

This recipe has been adapted from this recipe.