Last week as we were preparing our kitchen for a children cooking class, Lisa asked me if we could make a real gingerbread house. I did not have time then, but planned to do that this week-end. And so we did. Yesterday morning, I set out to prepare gingerbread men, and Lisa worked at making the dough and the paper patterns for the gingerbread house. It was so much fun;-) It had been such a long time since we last decorated cookies together. I had missed it. Almost like being a child again. We spent our morning making various gingerbread men. I used the recipe from http://www.simplyrecipes.com that I halved.
Ingredients for about 20 2-3 inches gingerbread men:
- 1 1/2 and 2 tbsp cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 and 2 tbsp teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 stick of unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
- 1/4 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- half of a large egg ( mix the egg well and use half of it)
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish and fluffy. Add the eggs and the molasse. Gradually add the flour mixture but beat at a very low speed so as not to make a mess;-) Then with your hands mold the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in 4 balls, and wrap each ball into plastic wrap. Place those in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. When you are ready to roll those gingerbread men, place the roulpat on your counter. I used the large one. Place one ball on the roulpat, and flatten it with your hand. Then roll the dough flat into about 3/15 of an inch with a rolling pin. Not too thick and not to thick. Place the gingerbread men on a large silpat that you would have placed on a perforated sheet and cook them in a warm oven for 8-10 minutes or until they are firm but not darkened. Remove them from oven and let them cool before decorating.
The traditional way to make Royal Icing is to beat egg whites and lemon juice together, adding the powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. With modern concerns about salmonella from raw eggs, you can either use powdered egg whites or heat the egg whites first to kill any bacteria.
With the heating method, mix the egg white and lemon juice with a third of the sugar into a bowl that you would place over a pot of boiling water. Stir vigorously so that the eggs will not cook, but the mixture will get warm to the touch or until the mixture’s temperature is 160°F. Remove the bowl from the boiling water, add the sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks.
If you are doing the cold method, mix 2 egg whites with 2/3 cups of sugar and beat until the mixture is fluffy and makes hard peaks. Add lemon juice to get the consistency that you need. If this icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency.
Use a pastry bag with a writing tip or plastic ziploc bags. Place an open ziploc bag into a bowl and spoon the icing in it. Close the bag, cut the corner and decorate the gingerbread men as you wish. Et voila!!!
Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!