As much as I love it when baked goodies look cute, it seems to me like sometimes good looks means sacrificed taste. Some of the cutest decorated cookies don’t actually taste all that great, and even wedding cakes, as beautiful as they can be, aren’t always as tasty as the not-quite-so-perfect cakes. When something looks good AND tastes good, you’ve definitely got a winner recipe.
If you read my last post on Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes, you know that I recently made a bunch of desserts for a holiday party. This is recipe #2 of the desserts I made. I thought gingerbread cookies would be a nice touch to suit cookie fans while maintaining a holiday theme. I didn’t want to do plain cookies, so I toyed around with a few different ideas until I decided to make shaped cookies with a ginger frosting for decoration. In Carmel, they make the most delicious gingerbread cookies (and they are super cute too). They’re dense but also soft, with just the right amount of spices. My idea was to duplicate the flavor of these cookies, and the perfect recipe sort of fell into my hands. Ever heard of Wilton’s Cookie Shapes Pans? I ended up buying some, and on the back, voila, was a gingerbread cookie recipe. With a few tweaks, I had myself the ideal gingerbread cookies, to which I added my ginger frosting.
Like the Carmel cookies, these gingerbread cookies are somewhat soft, with the perfect blend of spices. The frosting adds just the right touch to them. It’s not so much that it takes away from the cookie, but enough to make the cookies cuter and add flavor.
Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
(makes 48 cookies)
adapted from a Wilton Gingerbread Cookie recipe
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cups confection sugar
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
milk, as needed
Wilton icing color (optional)
Oven Temperature: 350 F
Note: As stated above, I used Wilton’s Cookie Shapes Pans for this recipe.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
2. In the separate bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Beat in the molasses and vanilla.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet on lowest speed until just combined.
4. Lightly oil each indented shape of the cookie pans. Pull off a chunk of batter and press into each shape, flattening with fingers. Fill each shape no more than 2/3 of the way. I found that it was easiest to do this while wearing a rubber glove so that the batter didn’t stick to my hands.
5. Bake cookies in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. Cookies should be slightly golden when done and can be tested with a toothpick. Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing.
1. Using a stand mixer, beat the softened butter, confectioner’s sugar, ginger, lime juice, and salt at high speed until you have a smooth frosting. Add milk sparingly if needed, as you want the frosting to be thick. If desired, add a very small amount of Wilton icing color to the frosting and beat (I used leaf green). The frosting may have a strong taste of ginger, but once added to the cookies, the flavors will blend nicely.
2. Frost the cooled cookies with a piping bag; I used a Wilton #5 tip.