Unglazed cookies, prior to decorating

Unglazed cookies, prior to decorating

I first tried this recipe a few weeks ago, looking for an excuse to use some of my antique Springerle molds, and was blown away by it.  It’s fantastic.  It’s spicy and soft and chewy and lasts forever, and holds up in the fridge and freezer, and just.. wow! I found it via No Special Effects, who adapted it from a recipe in Tartine.

Christmas dinner?

Christmas dinner?

I’m here in Arkansas for Christmas, with my husband’s son (4.5 years old) and his parents and grandparents, and wanted to make something special for them – so brought this recipe along.  We made the dough yesterday, rolled out and baked today, and decorated while waiting for our xmas eve dinner (we fly out on the 25th, so we’re having our official ‘christmas’ tomorrow – it’s not like he can read a calendar yet, after all!).

A plate full of deliciousness

A plate full of deliciousness

I frosted some with royal icing, and Isaac helped with sprinkles and such:

The middle one says 'Isaac'. He wrote it himself.

The middle one says ‘Isaac’. He wrote it himself.

I didn’t bring my molds, and had asked my mother-in-law if she had a snowflake cutter, as I was just really jonesing to make snowflakes.  She didn’t, but when she and Isaac were at the store they found a set of Wilton cutter/imprinters that were just perfect!  You can use them with or without the cutter – they make 3″ rounds, and there’s a plunger that you can attach an imprinter to – it comes with a snowflake, a snowman, and a christmas tree.  Pretty nice!  I couldn’t find it on the web, so no pictures of the set, unfortunately.

Snowflakes in the middle; Snowmen on the edges

Snowflakes in the middle; Snowmen on the edges

Soft Glazed Gingerbread

Posted by No Special Effects, adapted from Tartine.

* 225g (2 sticks or 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
* 4 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 170g (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
* 1 large egg
* 155g (1/2 cup) blackstrap or other dark molasses
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 525g (3-3/4 cups) all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, then sprinkle the cocoa, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, bakind soda, salt, and pepper evenly over it. Beat the mixture until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Add the egg and beat until well-combined. Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Sift all the flour over the mixture and stir in with a strong spoon or rubber spatula until well-combined and no traces of flour remain. You could also use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beating on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and no traces of flour remain. Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and press it into a rectangle about an inch thick, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a sheet pan with parchment.

If using a single springerle mold: Unwrap the dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/3 inch thickness, lightly dust the top with flour, and press the mold(s) all over the dough. Cut out the shapes with a small knife and transfer to the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

If using a springerle rolling pin: Lightly dust the lined sheet pan with flour and place the dough on top. Roll into a rectangle about 1/3 inch thick with a regular rolling pin, lightly dust with flour (I just brush my floury hands over the dough), then roll over it again with the patterned pin, applying enough pressure to ensure a clear impression. Trim the sides of the entire slab with a small knife, but there’s no need to cut out the individual cookies at this point.(although I did).

Bake the cookies until lightly golden along the sides but still soft to touch in the center, about 7 minutes for already-cut cookies or 15 minutes if you used a patterned rolling pin and are baking a giant slab of cookies. When done, let the cookies cool in the pan for about 10 minutes (they will set further as they cool). While waiting, prepare the glaze:

* 115g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
* 2-3 tablespoons water

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water and whisk until smooth. While the cookies are warm, evenly brush a light coat of glaze on top. If the details are obscured too much, whisk in the remaining tablespoon of water to the glaze and continue. If you’ve used a patterned pin to make a large slab of cookies, when the glaze has hardened, use a small, very sharp knife to cut it into the individual cookies.

Or, skip the glaze and decorate with royal icing.

[edit: The cookie cutter set I used is available here; it’s made by Wilton and is super-easy to use and clean up!]