Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread Trees with Lemon Icing

I lamented via Twitter and Facebook how I was having a terrible, no-good baking day. Four projects, all thrown into the bin. In a last ditch effort to regain a shred of my dignity, I made the dough for these gingerbread cookies and tossed it in the fridge to chill overnight; I was hoping for better luck the next day.

This is a very basic gingerbread cookie recipe. The twist is the lemon icing which, although I was hesitant about at first, turned out to be exactly what these cookies needed.

I want to be honest about these cookies. They really are quite pretty, and once 'flocked' (get it? flocked? haha?) with the tangy citrus icing, don't taste too bad - if a bit on the under-spiced side. It's the texture I've got a problem with. My goodness but do they crumble! I experimented with baking times in an attempt to reduce the dry, crumbly texture but was not able to resolve the problem. If I make them again, I'm going to try reducing the amount of flour in the recipe as well as handle the dough as little as possible. Perhaps I'll roll them out a little thinner as well.

Once the icing has dried and hardened, the cookies can easily be packaged and given as a gift. My mother in law loves gingerbread, so another batch with the above adjustments will most likely make their way out of my kitchen soon.

Gingerbread Trees with Lemon Icing
Everyday Food
Makes 60

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
sanding or coarse sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar till creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and beat to combine. Add molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down bowl as required. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat till combined. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate till firm.

Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough into small 2 inch wide shapes.. Arrange cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake till firm and golden at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on parchment on wire racks. Cookies will keep in airtight containers up to 1 week.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and powdered sugar and whisk till smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

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