Sunday, 22 December 2013

Gingerbread Ice Trees

The best smells of Christmas?  Gingerbread, pine trees and mulled wine round out my top three.
This morning we woke up to a world covered in ice - trees, fences, buildings, roads, cars - while it looks pretty, it was definitely a stay-at-home kind of day.  We were lucky to have power - so what better way to spend part of the day than baking gingerbread cookies?

The view inspired me - ice covered trees!

What intrigued me about this recipe was the addition of black pepper. It makes a not-too-sweet, not-too-spicy cookie - a crowd-pleaser.  If you like the gingerbread flavour to really slap you in the face, this recipe isn't for you - try Smitten Kitchen's Spicy Gingerbread.

Gingerbread Cookies
slightly adapted from Baking Bites

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses*
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper in a medium sized bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses, egg and vanilla, then gradually add in flour mixture until a soft dough can be formed into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Using extra flour, roll out dough to desired thickness and cut into shapes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. 

 *Note: I only added 1/4 cup of molasses, as that was all I could coax out of the container. The original recipe calls for a 1/2 cup.  

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