I decided to bake Christmas cookies rather than Netflix away the day! (If you’re curious, though, I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time and Black Mirror, two shows which, truly, could not be more different).
Honestly, though, they were just an excuse to dance around my apartment all day while singing along to the Michael Buble holiday album over and over and over. And over.
I love baking and blogging, but sometimes when you really think about the whole process, it’s kind of weird. I mean, arranging food and setting up shots is one thing if you’re a professional food stylist, but I have to admit I felt a little silly stacking cookies next to Christmas baubles in front of my sad little fake Christmas tree… But at least the photos look decent!
I’m heading home for the holidays and although I’ll be baking a bunch, I probably won’t have my fancy camera with me (plus the light in my parents’ house is pretty bad), so there won’t be any new posts for a while. But, if you’re nebby, you can follow me on Instagram to see all my baking adventures in Pittsburgh!
(Sorry folks, I know it’s overdone, but I just couldn’t resist ending the post with some Christmas tree bokeh.)
Sanppy Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from New Best Recipe
Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on size of cookie cutters)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
pinch freshly grated black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into tablespoon size pieces
3/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons milk
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt until combined. Add the butter pieces, and, using the paddle attachment, mix at medium-low until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal (about 1 1/2 minutes). At low speed, gradually add molasses and milk and mix until combined.
Divide dough into fourths. Spread a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface, and take one of your dough-fourths and pat it into a disk in your hands. Put it on top of the parchment paper, then cover it with another sheet of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out the disc of dough into about 1/8″ thickness. Using parchment paper allows you to avoid mixing more flour into the dough while making sure the dough doesn’t stick to your work surface. When 1/8″ thick, put the dough, sandwiched between parchment paper, on a cookie sheet. Repeat this with the other portions of dough until you have four flat sheets of dough (all between parchment paper) stacked on the same cookie sheet. Put in the freezer to firm up for 15-20 minutes.
While dough is in the freezer, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
When dough is ready, remove one sheet (put the rest in the fridge to chill while you’re working with each portion) and put it on your work surface. Peel off top parchment, replace on top of dough then flip over and peel off the other parchment paper sheet (this keeps it from sticking). Cut out cookies using whatever cookie cutters you like, placing on the cookie sheets you’ll be baking on as you go. Gather scraps and re-roll, using the other parchment sheet you set aside to help it from sticking.
These don’t spread so you can keep them pretty close to each other on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes–longer if you want them really crispy, a little less if you want them softer in the middle. It’s hard to tell when they’re done (they don’t darken much and stay soft even when ready to go), so use your nose–when fragrant, they’re almost ready.
Decorate with royal icing, sanding sugar, sprinkles, etc.!