I bake a lot of holiday cookies each year, some old family favorites, many traditional Italian varieties, and some from my childhood. Christmas for me growing up always included French Canadian tourtiere pies, shortbread cookies, and buttery cookie bars with a jam center. One type of cookie I have always loved growing up are gingerbread cookies, and I usually make these personal favorites each and every year.
My grandkids however find a traditional gingerbread cookie a bit strong in flavor so this year I tried a lighter version that everyone in the family loved. I prefer these cookies to remain slightly soft inside so as soon as they began to brown at the edges I removed them from the oven. The cookies will firm up further as they cool.
I am not someone that enjoys fiddling with intricate and fussy cookie decorating, and in fact if I make sugar cookies for Christmas I leave the decorating to my grandkids. They thoroughly enjoy it even though the cookies they decorate end up extremely colorful and completely covered in holiday sprinkles.
For these cookies however, I decided to use a simple white icing and to keep the decorating simple. I left the cookies out to dry for 6 hours after decorating them allowing the icing became quite firm. The cookies were then perfectly ready to be stored in my cookie tins.
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Stick, or 1/2 Cup Butter At Room Temperature
- 1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 2 Tablesppons Molasses
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Light Corn Syrup
- 2 to 2 1/2 Teaspoons Water
- In one bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter until light using an electric hand mixer, about 2 minutes.
- Add both the sugars and molasses and continue to beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the dry ingredients and using the mixer at slow speed, mix until blended.
- Divide the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut with your favorite cookie cutters.
- Place the cookies evenly spaced on parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway.
- Cool the cookies completely on wire racks.
- For the icing, whisk together the icing sugar, corn syrup, and 2 teaspoons of water.
- The icing should be thick, if too thick to use, add 1/2 teaspoon more water.
- Place the icing in a decorating bag or squeeze bottle and decorate cookies as desired.
- Allow the icing to dry for at least 6 hours, or until dry to the touch, then store cookies in airtight containers.