Cataloging my kitchen endeavors with a blog definitely keeps me out of any ruts, but no ruts also means no traditions. I think if you asked my husband what his favorite dinner is, he wouldn’t have an answer – that’s because rarely will I make the same exact meal. Now there are plenty of flops in there, trust me, but generally a total lack of routine (i.e. we don’t do taco Tuesday). There are a few exceptions, which I usually note in here, of recipes that are so fabulously tried and true that my search has come to an end.
I make this exact gingerbread recipe so often that when I type “home beccanomics” into my google search bar it offers “home beccanomics gingerbread roll outs” as the top suggestion. Atypical from the boxed gingerbreads we (in the Northeast at least) love, these are soft and chewy and an absolute pleasure to eat. They’re spicy but buttery and just perfectly sweet. I start making them in September and keep it on up through February (pumpkins in the fall, Christmas trees during the holidays and Valentine’s day hearts).
Onto the logistics – these are super fun (and easy) to make. First, no mixer! You make the dough in a SAUCEPAN. Just add in the ingredients and mix well before adding the next. No chilling necessary. The dough is lovely and smooth – not sticky. It rolls easily and the shapes cut perfectly. If you are new to rolling cookie dough, roll the dough on parchment and you DEFINITELY won’t have a problem with sticking. Also – chilled dough is ALWAYS easier to work with, so keep that in mind if necessary (roll out between two sheets of waxed paper and THEN refrigerate before cutting).
Yesterday as I was cleaning up dinner I think I ate four cookies – I actually had to physically place the container in front of my husband and order him with a pointed finger to eat the remaining seven. He did, with ease. OH and try this royal icing recipe – it stores in your fridge for at least a week and dries to a complete hard in about 30 minutes (but the corn syrup keeps it pliable so it doesn’t crack and flake off your cookies).
Gingerbread Roll-Out Cookies
Makes about 44 cookies
2/3 c. molasses
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. unsalted butter (two sticks), cut into tablespoons
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 3/4 c. flour (and more for kneading/rolling out)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg white
1 tsp. light corn syrup
*Instead of powdered whites and water, you can use 2 egg whites)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Combine molasses, brown sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil.
3. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda – mixture will bubble.
4. Stir in butter, 1 chunk at a time.
5. Add egg and stir.
6. Add flour and salt and stir.
7. Spread 2-3 tbsp. of flour on a clean counter top and turn out dough onto counter.
8. Knead dough gently, about 1 minute to form cohesive ball.
9. Divide ball in half. Refrigerate one half. Roll out dough on lightly floured counter top to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into shapes. If you are new to this kind of thing, roll out dough on parchment paper and you won’t risk any sticking. Also, at 1/4 inch thickness the cookies will be soft and slightly chewy – for crisp cookies roll the dough thinner.
10. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Space 2 inches apart.
11. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Cookies will look puffed but should be set before pulling out.
12. Let cool for several minutes on sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
13. To make icing, combine egg and corn syrup in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Add enough powdered sugar (add 1/2 c. at a time) to make a thick, smooth icing. If icing is too thick, add warm water by the teaspoonful. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar by the tablespoonful until you reach your desired consistency. Icing needs to be thicker than you think. Fill a ziplock plastic bag with icing and snip a corner of the bag. Pipe icing to decorate.
Cut a very small corner of the plastic bag for thin piping – cut a larger hole to achieve the more pronounced piping.
Let cookies sit out about 30 minutes for the icing to harden. When storing, separate layers of cookies in tupperware using waxed paper or parchment paper . Cookies will keep up to 1 week.