Gingerbread Snowflakes

Gingerbread Snowflakes
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. ¼ teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  8. ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  9. ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  10. 1 large egg
  11. ½ cup molasses
Royal Icing Made with Meringue Powder (edible)
  1. 4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  2. 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  3. Approximately ¼ to ½ cup warm water (or more if needed)
  4. Flavoring (optional)
  5. Food coloring (optional) Cornflower blue and a drop of sky blue
  6. Tip: If using an extract for flavoring, use one that is clear so it does not add unwanted color to the finished icing, such as orange, lemon, mint, almond, and clear vanilla. Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
  7. Or
Royal Icing Made with Egg Whites (non-edible)
  1. 2 large egg whites
  2. 3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  3. Approximately 2 or 3 teaspoons warm water (or more if needed)
  4. Flavoring (optional)
  5. Food coloring (optional)
Decorations
  1. Silver Dragees (optional)
  2. -
Dough
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and brown sugar; cream together until mixture appears light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add egg and molasses; beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture, stir until well mixed. The dough will be soft.
  3. Divide dough in half; place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into two 6 inch flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. Tip: The dough may be refrigerated at this point for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Baking sheets may be ungreased, lined with parchment paper, or lined with a non-stick baking mat.
  5. On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut dough using a snowflake shaped cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour (to help prevent dough from sticking to the cutter.)
  6. Bake: Place cutout dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 11 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets 2 to 3 minutes. When they seem firm enough, remove cookies from baking sheets with a metal spatula and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
Decorations
  1. Make icing of your choice to frost and decorate cookies, either the Royal Icing made with Meringue Powder (edible), or the Royal Icing made with egg whites (non-edible.)
  2. Place about ¼ of the icing in a small bowl and tint with the blue food coloring. I used predominately cornflower blue, with just a drop of sky blue to reach the desired color. Cover tightly to prevent drying and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Place about ¼ of the white icing in a pastry bag fitted with a #2 piping decorating tip and pipe the outline of the cookie. Let set for a few minutes to slightly dry.
  4. Add water, a few drops at a time, to remaining white icing to create a flooding consistency, approximately like un-whipped heavy cream or thick eggnog. After areas are outlined, fill in the lines on each cookie in by flooding with the thinner icing. Use a small artist paintbrush to push the icing into the smaller areas. Let the cookies air dry until the icing is set, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Place the blue icing in a piping bag fitted with a #2 piping tip and pipe branched lines connecting the opposite tips of the snowflakes. Decorate with dragees while the blue icing is still wet. Let the finished cookies air dry until the icing is set, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
Royal Icing Made with Meringue Powder (edible)
  1. In a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer or hand mixer, combine meringue powder and powdered sugar. Add water in small quantities, start with tablespoons of water, then when it’s getting close to the right consistency add water in teaspoonfuls or just drops of water at a time, until it is the desired consistency; for piping and outlining, the icing should be like a thick sour cream. Add food coloring and flavoring (optional.)
  2. Use immediately. Keep unused portions covered with plastic wrap, as exposed icing will start to thicken and harden. If the icing starts to become too thick, add a few drops of water and beat until the water is thoroughly combined.
  3. Place unused icing in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  4. Or
Royal Icing Made with Egg Whites (non-edible)
  1. In a medium bowl, and using an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each cup until smooth. Add water, a few drops at a time, until it is the desired consistency; for piping and outlining, the icing should be like a thick sour cream. Add food coloring (optional.)
  2. Use icing immediately, keeping unused portions covered with plastic wrap, as exposed icing will start to thicken and harden. If the icing starts to become too thick, add a few drops of water and beat until water is thoroughly combined.
  3. Place unused icing in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.
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