Making cookie characters for the holiday takes only a little imagination and a piping cone for decorating with icing. You can buy a piping cone from the grocery store or make your own from parchment paper.
Cole Publishing Group
Makes about 1 dozen 4-inch cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
dried currants (optional)
CONFECTIONERS' DECORATING ICING:
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In large mixer bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat until light. Add molasses and egg and beat to blend well; set aside.
In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just blended. Gather dough into a ball and enclose in plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured board, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out cookies with a floured 4 1/2-inch gingerbread cutter and transfer to greased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are lightly browned around edges and feel barely firm when touched gently (about 10 minutes). Transfer to wire racks.
If desired, while each cookie is hot, press in currants to create eyes, mouth and buttons.
When cookies are cool, decorate with icing.
Confectioners' Decorating Icing: In medium bowl, combine shortening, 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until completely smooth. For thicker icing, beat in additional sugar, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Makes 1 cup.
Pub Date: 12/13/98