A Spicy Grown-Up Gingerbread Man:
Nothing says Christmas like a Gingerbread Man! So I decided to make these tasty boys for my cookie exchange. However, I wanted a gingerbread man with a spicy kick. And I was looking for a man with a bit of dressed up sophication along with that spice!
I searched the internet to find a recipe that I thought would have enough grown up flavor. I decided to use an adapted Martha Stewart's gingerbread recipe from the web. The addition of pepper in the recipe intrugued me. I usually change recipes and make them my own, but I followed this recipe to the letter, and suggest that you do too. As far as flavor, the cookie has a beautiful spicy quality and rich gingerbread taste!
My boys came out spicy and delicious. They were, however a little bit delicate. I will definitely make them again, but I will bake them longer than called for.
In finishing them with Royal icing, I made several designs until I was happy with a big sugared snowflake on the front of the gingerbread man.
Recipe: From Martha Stewart (via Christmas Cookies.com)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Royal Icing for decoration
In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and molasses. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each third in plastic wrap.
*Chill for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick.
Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
Transfer shapes to ungreased cookie sheets (I use parchment paper). Brush off excess flour from gingerbread with a pastry brush.
*Refrigerate about 15 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crisp but not dark (You may need to bake longer). Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
If desired, decorate with Royal Icing.
* It is important to refrigerate when indicated because recipe uses butter- if you do not chill it- it will spread out when cooked and lose it's original shape.
4 cups confectioner's sugar
3 TBS meringue powder
3-6 TBS water
Using a mixer, start with 3 TBS water- mix sugar, meringue powder and water together. Beat with whisk attatchment for 7-10 minutes with a stand mixer, or 12-15 minutes with a hand held mixer. If icing is too stiff add a little more water at a time and beat well until you get the consistency you want. Put in pastry bag with a small round tip.
To Decorate: Snowflake Design
Start with a dot at the neck of the gingerbread man. Continue by making a straight line vertically stopping close to the bottom of the man, end in a dot.
Make a dot-line-dot horizontally. You will make an large plus sign.
On the top left diagonal start with a dot and draw a line to the center of the plus sign.
Do the same with the top right...
And bottom left and bottom right.
On the top spoke of the snowflake make a small diagonal line starting to the left and top of the spoke and drawing line down to meet the top spoke. Do the same to the other side.
Do the same to the bottom spoke.
Make small line horizontally across the horizontal spokes of the snowflake close to the ends of the spokes.
Put a dot of icing above the top spoke and below the bottom spoke of the snowflake.
Using the icing tip, elongate the ends on the horizontal spokes, and add a dot.
Let stand for a couple of minutes (I would decorate 4 men and then go back and use the sanding sugar on the first one, then ice another gingerbread man and sand the second one, then ice another and sand the third...).
Using sanding sugar, spoon a small amount of sugar over snowflake.
Gently tap off excess sugar.
Dry until icing is hard.
I am joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Thank you Michael. Please visit his web-site and enjoy all the wonderful recipes!