Thursday, December 4, 2014


One of the best things about the Christmas holiday is baking cookies! And there are so many kinds of Christmas cookies.... I can hardly keep track! But one of my all time favorite is the gingerbread man.

I think these would look so festive, when you invite the neighbors in to share some holiday punch and cookies, don't you?

Now, I wouldn't be a very good Queen of Halloween if I didn't share my favorite recipe for Gingerbread Skeleton cookies. All you'll need to make these little cuties is a regular old gingerbread man cookie cutter, and some food coloring. Now keep in mind,  gingerbread cookies can be quite time consuming.... but well worth the work!
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Royal Icing Ingredients
  • 1 pound (4 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried egg-white powder
  • 6 tablespoons water
Just combine the ingredients, mix well, and set aside until you're ready to frost the cookies. If you want to make black icing (take half to set aside, so you have some black and white icing) add a few drops of black food coloring, mix well. Then you can pipe the icing on with a pastry bag, or spread it with a kinfe.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg.

Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. (The dough can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

Time to roll out the cookies:

Working with one disk at a time, keep the other disk refrigerated. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking, about 10 minutes. (If the dough has been chilled for longer than 3 hours, it may need a few more minutes.) Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick, being sure that the dough isn't sticking to the work surface (run a long meal spatula or knife under the dough occasionally just to be sure, and dust the surface with more flour, if needed).

For softer cookies, roll out slightly thicker. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart. Gently knead the scraps together and form into another disk. Wrap and chill for 5 minutes before rolling out again to cut out more cookies.

Bake, switching the positions of the cookies from top to bottom and back to front halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely.

Decorate with black and white Royal Icing.  If you want to make these guys look fancy, why not add a red bow tie! Now that's festive!

These cookies can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, stored in airtight containers at room temperature.