Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Snowed in for Christmas

This may be one of the whiter Christmases North America has seen in a while. I thought I might celebrate with snowflakes! This cookie recipe is spicy and delicious and fun to decorate - get the family involved in the decorating or give them as gifts. Unlike Santa and Christmas trees, snowflakes don't go out of style after boxing day.

Gingerbread Snowflake Cookies - Martha Stewart
Makes 16 cookies .
I got closer to 40 cookies, as I used smaller cookie cutters.
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulfured molasses
Royal Icing
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
Put icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #7). Pipe designs on snowflakes; immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand 5 minutes; tap off excess sugar. Let icing set completely at room temperature, about 1 hour. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
More snow!
Snowflake Pretzels
Being the bread fiend that I am, I also made these snowflake shaped pretzels from Bread Blog. They are fun to make and taste great - I used sweet chili sauce rather than the pepper jelly, which was sticky but really tasty. They aren't technically pretzels as they are not boiled with lye or baking soda before baking but are very tasty nonetheless. Click here for the recipe.

Snow or no snow, I wish you peace, warmth and happiness for the holidays and the coming new year.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas.......