Gingerbread Cutouts

“We should totally do a food blogger cookie swap.”

That’s how it started. One tweet from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil. With one sentence, she, with the help of Julie of The Little Kitchen, connected over 600 people around the world. Within a month and a half, over 22,000 cookies were boxed up and headed across their respective countries to the eager hands of other cookie lovers like me! 22 THOUSAND cookies. All from a single tweet.

Because of that one single sentence, for the past week I’ve eaten nothing but cookies for literally every meal. (Seriously. I just ate one two for breakfast.) And I couldn’t be happier about it! For the first time in a really long time, I’ve actually looked forward to going to the mailbox every day to see if a special surprise awaited me. When I opened the door to find a little white box nestled inside, I’d practically run home, eager to see what kind of treats they were, and who they were from. I was so excited the night the first package came that I actually broke my camera’s memory card trying to get a picture of them. (Hence the lack of posts last week.. But Boyfriend came to the rescue with a replacement, so we’re back in business!)

Top: Double Chocolate Macadamia Gingerbread Blondies from Holly, Middle: Gingerbread Snowflakes from Karen, Bottom: Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies from Kate. All amazingly yummy!

As for the cookies I sent across the country—I’ve found my new favorite gingerbread recipe. I’ve been using the same one for years now (the first one I ever tried), but felt like it was time to switch it up. And I’m really glad I did. Sorry original recipe, but I think we’re breaking up. I’ve found someone else. You were good, but new recipe is so much more flavorful and soft. So.. I guess this is goodbye.

Also, note to self—Don’t drink so much caffeine before trying to pipe details with royal icing. I never realized how bad my hand shakes when I’m all hyped up until I tried to pipe prettiness onto cookies. Needless to say, there were a good amount of cookies that went into the reject/eat pile before I could manage the shakes.

I can’t wait til next year for the next cookie swap! Thanks SO much to Lindsay and Julie for setting this all up and connecting us all through the wonderful cookie goodness. They’ve introduced me to six of my new favorite blogs and bloggers! Megan of Wanna be a Country Cleaver, Andrea of Recipes for Divine Living, and Nicole of The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie who I sent my cookies to, and Holly of Phemomenon, Karen of Small Kitchen, Big Taste, and Kate of Cookie and Kate who sent me their amazingly delicious cookies! Thanks so much!

Want to get in early on the action for the next swap? Sign up for all the emails now, so you’ll be the first to know all the details next year.

Gingerbread Cutouts
Adapted from Annie’s Eats and Bake at 350
Makes about 5 dozen 2-inch round cookies

4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg

Royal Icing:
4 tablespoons meringue powder
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
Scant ½ cup water
¼ teaspoon lemon extract (or another clear extract)
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
Food coloring

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in molasses and egg, beating to combine. Add flour mixture a little at a time, mixing until just incorporated. Turn out dough onto clean work surface and divide into four portions. Pat each portion into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. When dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters in desired shapes. Transfer shapes to prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Reroll scraps as needed. Place the cut dough, on the baking sheets, in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
5. When chilled, bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cookies are puffed and edges are just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Once cookies are cooled completely, make royal icing: In the clean bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, mix together meringue powder, confectioners’ sugar, water, and extract until combined. Add corn syrup and mix to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes. (It will still look a little runny, and but should hold a line drawn through it with a knife for 5 to 10 seconds. If it rushes back in less than 5 seconds, beat a little longer. If it holds the line for more than 10 seconds, add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time) to the icing and beat until it is combined, testing until it reaches the right consistency.)
7. Divide icing into bowls and add food coloring, mixing until color is completely incorporated. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (I used a Wilton #3).
8. Working with one cookie at a time, pipe the outline on your cookie, holding the tip about a ½-inch above the cookie and letting the icing fall onto the cookie around the edges of your shape. Then begin to fill the cookie, making zig-zag shapes across the cookie, fairly close together (or whatever works for you).With a small offset spatula, or the tip of a butter knife, gently spread the icing across the cookie to fill in any gaps. Once filled, lightly shake the cookie back and forth (or tap gently on a flat work surface) a few times to help settle the icing. Allow icing to dry for several hours before piping on any raised details*, allowing the final design to dry completely before storing. (I usually let mine dry overnight.)

*Note: If you’re doing very small or intricate details, you’ll probably need to beat your frosting again to stiffen it back up. Just put it back in the mixer and beat for a few minutes more to create a thicker, stiffer consistency.
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Recipes For Divine Living said...

My hubby will be so pleased I have this recipe. He's asked me about it twice since we enjoyed the ones you sent. Thanks Again!

Jo and Sue said...

These look so pretty :) I bet they taste as good as they look! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Kelley Finan said...

These are GORGEOUS. You need to supply these to local bakeries. They are STUNNING.

Anele @ Success Along the Weigh said...

Just in time for me to make gingerbreads for the weekend! Yessss!

Unknown said...

haha I got cookies from Kate and from Holly, too!! Dang were they all delicious! And the gingerbreads were divine - and adorable.

They're all gone. I can't believe we packed away three dozen cookies in a week!! hahah

Lisa R Charles said...

I cannot wait to try this recipe!! Sounds so tasty!!

Cookie and Kate said...

So glad you enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies! I thought I was all cookied out but I can't stop eyeing your gingerbread cutouts!

Lisa said...

I found this recipe from Annie-Eats a few weeks ago and had a go as well. They are delish!! I love, love, love them! I'm glad to hear I am not alone. I'm going to have to sign up for next years cookie exchange. Sounds so stinking fun! Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

GORGE! Love teh detailing on the cookies! Well Done!

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