If Christmas had a scent, gingerbread would be it!! There's nothing better in this world than walking into a home with warm spices, orange essence and molasses floating in the air! Baking cookies on Christmas Eve has been a long family tradition that I plan to carry on with my new family...and the perfect recipe follows: (Makes about 6 dozen.)
- 1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 orange, zested
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup dark molasses
- 1 lemon, juiced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and beat until smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.
When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet. Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Now you are ready to decorate using just about anything your heart desires...from royal icing to fondant...from sprinkles and edible pearls to just about every candy! The fun part is making a unique cookie even Santa himself would enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has! Orders may also be placed up until December 22nd for homemade cookies delivered to your door!
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