|Hard at work, squeezing that bag!|
So when I heard that my brother and his cute family were coming for a visit this Christmas, I just had to make these cookies for my nieces to decorate! They are quite the budding artists, after all. Not only do these cookies taste delicious, but they don't take too long to prepare and they are a great project for kids and (a little) less messy than your traditional graham cracker house. We put all the white icing in plastic squeeze bottles and it was much easier for little hands to manage. If we had another bottle we would have put the red in one, too, so plan ahead a little better than me!
|This cookie artwork was eaten by Santa!|
|And a little help from cousin Sarah!|
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1/4 c. sour cream
4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add molasses, sour cream and egg; beat until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients in about 3 additions. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper. Use a cookie cutter to cut out house shapes or create your own. I made mine out of a piece of wax paper and used a pizza cutter, smoothing out any cutter nicks with my finger. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place cookies 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on wire racks.
Source: Adapted from Meet the Dubiens
Royal Icing [click to print]
2 egg whites, large
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. brown food coloring
3 c. powdered sugar
Beat egg whites, vanilla and food coloring until frothy. Add powdered sugar and continue beating on low until smooth. The mixture should be kind of thick, but pipeable, at this point. Scoop about 1/3 of the icing into a squeeze bottle or piping bag and set aside. Add water to remaining icing, about 1/2 tsp. at a time, until it is flooding consistency. If you make it too thin, just mix in a little more powdered sugar. Pour icing in another squeeze bottle (a piping bag will be much trickier, but still possible, for this consistency) and set aside.
Using the thicker icing, outline each house shape and allow to harden about 10 minutes. Using the thinner icing, flood each shape to fill in the outlines and allow to harden a few hours. Be careful not to get any water on them as they harden or they'll have lighter colored spots.
Once the cookies are well set, let your decorators go to work!
Source: Adapted from Joy of Cooking