Royal icing has always left me confused. One the one hand, it pipes out beautifully making cookies look finished and professional. On the other hand, it can break your tooth when you bite into it and the taste is rather flat.
A nice alternative to the traditional royal icing is an easier, egg-free lemon flavoured icing. I experimented using both types of icing this year and found that the royal icing does give more precise lines and details. Royal icing takes longer to make and some people are afraid to eat it because of the raw egg whites. The lemon icing lines are a little blurred but the flavour is significantly improved and you won’t chip a tooth biting into one of the cookies. As you have likely already guessed, I fall into the “delicious not gorgeous” category (thank you, Heather, for coining that on your blog).
This gingerbread recipe results in soft cookies instead of gingersnap texture. The icing pairs well with the slightly spicy cookie. Enjoy and be sure to add this recipe to your annual Christmas cookie plate.
Gingerbread Cookies with Easy Lemon Icing
Makes: about 2 dozen cookies
Time: Prep time (20 minutes) + Chilling time (1 hour) + Baking time (10-12 minutes per batch)
3 ¼ cups (400 g) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ (or ½ a tsp for spicier cookies) tsp finely ground black pepper
¾ cup (170 g or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
½ cup (155 g) fancy molasses
Decorations and Toppings
Royal Icing or Easy Lemon Icing
Raisins, mini chocolate chips
Easy Lemon Icing
1 1/4 cups (155 g) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter until light and fluffy using a hand mixer. Add the sugar and mix until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in the egg and molasses.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture using a low speed to combine. Divide the dough into 3 portions, form into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
4. When ready to bake: remove from the refrigerator and let the dough warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between lightly flour wax or parchment paper. The dough should be about 1/8 inch (3-4 mm) thick. Cut with cookie cutters and move to the prepared pan. Bake for 8-12 minutes until firm.
Easy Lemon Icing
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Pour the milk on one side and the lemon juice on the other side of the bowl and whisk. Add the vanilla and whisk again. If the icing is too thick, add milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached. If it is too thin, add icing sugar by the tablespoon and whisk until the desired consistency is reached. Pour the icing into a squeeze bottle or a freezer bag. If using a freezer bag, snip the corner with a sharp pair of scissors to let just a little icing escape. Decorate your cookies and experiment using different patterns. Check out Pinterest for idea or La Pêche Fraîche.
Serve with milk and a carrot!
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.
Adapted from Simply Recipes.