Coastal View - Monthly Article, December 2016'

December 13th, 2016

Coastal View, December 2016  http://www.coastalview.com/

Cookie Decorating Magic

 Have you ever seen a Christmas cookie so beautifully decorated that it was just too pretty to eat? Yeah, me neither! But knowing the time and detail that that baker had put into it, I did end up feeling a little guilty. Since I was just invited to my first “cookie exchange” I thought I’d practice a bit to up my holiday game! I sat at my desk and quickly turned my laptop on, “clickity clack” I typed into the search bar Pinterest.com. Behold, the website holy grail of all things crafty and thereby time consuming. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling … Aha, gingerbread stars with crystallized sugar bling – perfect!

Into the kitchen I marched to locate the ingredients and after my dough was made I rolled it out in between two parchment sheets and placed it in the fridge to chill. A few hours later with star cookie cutters in hand, I cut to my heart’s content and arranged them neatly on a silpat lined baking sheet. My first two trays came out exactly as I hoped, neat edges and looking 100% like the star shape I was going for. This all changed by the time I pulled out my third set of baked cookies, which had oozed into a sort of spiky circle. I finally figured out that this was because my buttery gingerbread dough was no longer chilled upon entering the oven heat. That’s alright though, I’d act like the funky ones were meant to be Christmas tree ornaments and entirely part of my cookie plan. As the hot cookies cooled on a nearby rack, I whipped up some royal icing meant to line, fill and flood to decorated perfection. With the precision of a surgeon, or at least that’s what I told myself, I slowly outlined each of my cookie edges and when set proceeded to flood in the filling. Finally finished and proud of my work I decided to do a taste test to confirm they were as delicious as they looked. Yep, they definitely tasted amazing and suddenly half the tray was gone. Here’s to happy cooking making and eating during the holiday season, big hugs- Chef Nikki

GINGERBREAD Spice Cookies

Cook Time: 18 min.

Serving: 20

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups Softened Butter
  • 1-1/2 cup Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Extract

Cooking Process:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Drizzle in the molasses, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl a couple of times to make sure it's evenly combined. Add the eggs and maple extract and mix. Add the flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each addition. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or more if you have time!
  3. When you're ready to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 F. When the dough is soft enough to roll but still firm, divide it in half and roll out each half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Cut out shapes of your choosing and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking mat. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of cutters used, until the cookies are baked through but still soft. Remove with a spatula and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!!