The perfect holiday sweets for an old-fashioned swap with friends.
SPICE COOKIE CUTOUTS WITH ORNAMENTAL FROSTING
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light (mild) molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks,
or substitute margarine
1 large egg, beaten
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Ornamental Frosting (recipe follows)
1. In 3-quart saucepan, heat sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in baking soda (mixture will foam up in the pan). Stir in butter until melted. With fork, stir in egg, then flour.
2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough until thoroughly mixed. Divide dough in half. Wrap one half of dough with plastic wrap and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. With floured rolling-pin, roll remaining half of dough slightly thinner than 1/4 inch. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch assorted cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. Place cookies, 1/2 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Re-roll trimmings and cut out more cookies.
4. Bake cookies 12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. When cookies are cool, prepare Ornamental Frosting; use to decorate cookies as desired. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers, if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.
1 package (16-ounce) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
Assorted food colorings (optional)
1. In bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder and 1/3 cup warm water until blended and mixture is so stiff that knife drawn through it leaves a clean-cut path, about 5 minutes.
2. If you like, tint frosting with food colorings as desired; keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying out. With small spatula, artist’s paintbrushes, or decorating bags with small writing tips, decorate cookies with frosting. (You may need to thin frosting with a little warm water to obtain the right spreading or piping consistency.) Makes 3 cups frosting.