On the fourth day of my holiday baking adventure, I present to you, Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies.
Just as in nature, where no two snowflakes are identical, here, no two gingerbread snowflakes are alike. And that, I think, is the beauty of them! Although I love gingerbread, I seem to associate it with mostly with winter, although this summer, I did bake some to sandwich dulce de leche ice cream. That was an unbeatable combination.
Baking these cookies makes me very happy and makes my house smell unbelievable. Should you have any lingering odours in the kitchen (from frying or otherwise), bake these and those nasty smells will disappear. There are tons of gingerbread recipes out there, but the best one I have tried comes from Cook’s Illustrated. I follow their recipe exactly, with the exception of ground cloves. I leave that out. I find the flavour too overpowering. I also cut back slightly on the ground ginger and ground cinnamon.
It was from Cook’s Illustrated that I learned a clever method for rolling out the dough. Most recipes recommend chilling the dough before rolling it out. That is very difficult to do. Cook’s says to roll the dough out , between 2 sheets of parchment paper, while it is still soft. Then freeze it in the parchment, for about 30 minutes. Then cut out the snowflakes while the dough is very cold. A simple but brilliant idea.
I have 2 snowflake cookie cutters. The first is a beautiful large copper one made by Old RiverRoad. I found it on Amazon. the second is a medium-sized aluminum one I found in my local housewares store. Another fantastic source for cookie cutters is www.coppergifts.com. They also have photos of several decorating ideas for every cookie cutter they sell. It is a fantastic resource!
For those of you familiar with baseball parlance, I had to bring in a “Designated Hitter” to pipe the icing on the snowflakes. Last year I developed carpal tunnel syndrome from piping over 160 cookies in one day. I wasn’t taking any chances this year. Sarah, my old babysitter (and now friend) volunteered to come and pipe. I think you’ll agree she did a masterful job.
Filling the piping bag is easy if you put it into an empty pitcher, and fold the top edge over so it doesn’t slide down. I used disposable piping bags and a small plain piping tip.
I really like the look of white icing and clear coarse decorating sugar, but feel free to experiment with different colours. Spoon on the sugar when the icing is still wet. Be heavy-handed, you can shake the excess off. Line cookie sheet with parchment, so you can easily dump leftover sugar into sugar container to reuse.
Who wouldn’t love to receive this perfect mouthful of winter?