from Bobbette & Belle
Makes about 10 cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup fancy molasses
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves until well blended.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and egg on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the molasses and vanilla and beat until well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl midway.
3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disc, fully wrap in the plastic and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
4. Put oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness, using additional flour to dust your work surface and rolling pin as needed. Cut out house shapes, each roughly 31 /2 × 5 inches, and arrange on the lined baking sheets, leaving a space between each cookie. Gather the scraps, reroll and cut out more houses until all the dough is used. You should have at least 10 cookies.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are firm to the touch. For even baking, rotate the sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
To glaze or decorate the cookies with royal icing:
- Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Place the bowl on the mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 of the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix until combined. Add the remaining 2 egg whites and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. The royal icing will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and then beat.
Tip: This gingerbread is crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. If you prefer a gingerbread that crispier throughout, roll the dough slightly thinner. If you’re a fan of softer, chewier gingerbread, roll it a bit thicker.
Excerpted from Bobbette & Belle: Classic Recipes from the Celebrated Pastry Shop by Allyson Bobbitt and Sarah Bell. Copyright © 2016 Bobbette & Belle Inc. Published by Viking Canada, an imprint of Penguin Canada
Nada’s Tips & Tricks: Once the cookies are made, let the kids/grandkids loose on the decorating. Divide the royal icing and add food colouring for the red and green accents. Have a variety of candies, jelly beans, etc. to decorate their creations. When I ran the cooking school, our gingerbread house decorating classes for kids sold out so quickly and the joy on the faces of the little ones was worth the mess!