Gingerbread Cookies

Here are the gingerbread cookies that Tyler made and I decorated.  He helped make them with his family when he was a kid.  This was his first time doing them on his own, and I must say that they came out delicious. The trick is making sure the dough is super cold when you roll them out.  If it's not, then the dough will stick to the cookie cutters and make some ugly gingerbread men. I did my best to decorate them -  don't laugh at my lack of artistic ability!

Gingerbread Cookies
3 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
2/3 c unsulphured molasses

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.  In a mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.  Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Use a floured cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.  With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch apart.  Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.  They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.  

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes.  When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  

Royal Icing 
2 large egg whites
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 c powdered sugar

In the mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice.  Add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth.  The icing needs to be used immediately.  

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