Monday, December 24, 2012

Mini Gingerbread Men (and others!)

Did you ever have those gingerbread men cookies that were covered with some granulated sugar from the bins at the grocery store? I used to love those; the thick and crunchy perfection of cookies. I think it was the memory of those cookies that made me really want to make gingerbread cookies this year. When I came across this recipe in my Cooking Light Holiday edition, I figured I should try them out. The original recipe called for a combination of golden cane syrup with molasses but since I couldn't find the syrup in my grocery store, I upped the molasses slightly and subbed in some corn syrup. They are probably not as "light" anymore, but they did turn out well.

They are quite the crunchy thick cookies I was imagining, but even the non-gingerbread lovers will enjoy the flavor. The ginger isn't over the top and if you use 1-inch cookie cutters like I did, you'll get bite-sized goodness that is just enough.

Gingerbread Cookies (adapted from Cooking Light December 2012)
For cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
dash of salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp molasses
1 large egg

For frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder
3-5 tbsp water (more or less to thin as desired)
green and red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Whisk well to mix.

Beat the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the corn syrup, molasses and egg and beat until combined, about 1 minutes. Add the flour mixture and stir using a wooden spoon until just combined. Form into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, working with half of the dough at a time, roll to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use cookies cutters to get the desired shape and cookies, rerolling to dough as necessary. Continue cutting until you have used almost all the dough, placing the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then remove and let cool completely.

Prepare the icing by beating the powdered sugar, meringue powder and about 3 tbsp water in a large bowl on low speed until the sheen has disappeared. Separate into two bowls and color with red and green food coloring, adding more water as necessary. Spoon into disposable pastry bags fitted with size two round tips. Pipe on to cookies in desired designs.

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