Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper No Egg Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper No Egg Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper No Egg Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper No Egg Royal Icing

No Christmas Cookie Exchange is complete without a spicy gingerbread cookie piped with white royal icing. There’s just something about crunching into these cookies and tasting the deep molasses flavours that epitomizes the holiday for me. While you’re baking and decorating have a mug of mulled wine (or virgin eggnog for us breastfeeding moms!) with Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” on the radio and your home will truly be a winter wonderland.

The recipe I use comes from my guru, Martha Stewart. I discovered it back when I was in High School and have never strayed, it’s that good! I make these every year along with my gingerbread bars and rum balls. The magic ingredient is definitely black pepper; these cookies are full of warm spicy flavours. The aroma when they are baking needs to be captured in a candle because it is to die for!

One thing you want to be careful about is your baking time. The recipe calls for 12-14 minutes but in my oven 11 minutes was just right. You don’t want them to be hard. Just a little crunch is all you’re after, not broken tooth level crunch!

Another thing to be careful of is thickness. Don’t roll your dough too thin. Pull out the ruler and make sure it’s 1/4″ thick. This may seem too thick but any thinner and the cookies become too crunchy and flattened. One trick I always have for rolling my dough is to roll the dough sandwiched between two pieces of plastic wrap. This keeps your dough from sticking to your counter and your rolling pin and you don’t need to flour your work surface.

Follow the directions regarding keeping the dough in the fridge, it makes a big difference in the appearance of your cookies! If the dough needs to be re-rolled more than a couple times, put it back in the fridge or else your cookies will turn out with cracks on the surface.

I don’t like using eggs in my royal icing and didn’t have any meringue powder, so I found a great alternative at Tips From A Typical Mom Blog.

Solaris Embroidery Co Turquoise Toffee

Solaris Embroidery Co Turquoise Toffee

One more thing I just have to dish about is this Christmas onesie on Baby K, isn’t it adorable?  It was custom made by The Quirky Monkey.  Not only is the embroidery meticulously and professionally done, the fabric of this raglan shirt is probably the softest thing I have ever put on my baby!  Seriously, it’s really lovely.  This particular design is especially wonderful because of the turquoise (obviously!) but also because it is on point with this season’s hottest trend, buffalo check.  Everyone who has seen this onesie in person responds with a resounding “awwww, that’s so cute!”

The Quirky Monkey shop has all kinds of personalized products for babies, toddler, kids, teens and adults.  They have parent and sibling clothing, canvas banners, new baby gifts, and even stuffed animals.  Stay tuned for a link to another post I will be doing with a special teddy bear made for Baby J’s second birthday!  Take a look at their shop and all the trendy and creative items they have.  If you find something you love, the Quirky Monkey is giving my readers 10% off with the coupon code TURQUOISE until February 1, 2018, how fabulous!  Visit their shop here.

(And if you’re wondering why I don’t show the babies’ faces in my pictures, read why here.)

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper No Egg Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies with Pepper

(from Martha Stewart)

6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1.5 tsp coarse salt
2 large eggs
1 cup unsulphered molasses (not blackstrap, it’s bitter!)

one: sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

two: using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium until fluffy.

three: mix in the spices and salt, then the eggs and molasses. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture just until combined.

four: divide the dough in thirds, flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour until cold. Or freeze for later!

five: preheat the oven to 350 F and line your baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick (not less or you will have a flat and crunchy cookie instead of a soft and chewy cookie!), cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter, then place it on the baking sheet with 2″ space between them. Put the whole sheet into the fridge for 15 minutes to get firm and a little cold. Don’t skip this step! Also, if you are re-rolling more than once or you have a hot kitchen, you may need to put the disc of dough back in the fridge to firm up and chill. If not it will be hard to get your cookie dough out of the cookie cutter because it will be too soft and it will bake with a cracked surface.

six: bake for 12-14 minutes (11 minutes worked for me!). They need to be firm enough to lift off the sheet but you don’t need them to darken on the edges or bottom. They will continue to bake a little on the hot cookie sheet after you’ve removed them from the oven, so don’t overbake. Let them cool completely before icing.

No Egg/No Meringue Powder Royal Icing

(inspired by Tips From A Typical Mom Blog)

1 cup (or so) icing sugar
2 tsp (or so) milk
2 tsp (or so) light corn syrup
0.25 tsp pure almond extract
Food colouring

one: mix all the ingredients except the food colouring until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more corn syrup and/or milk. If it’s too thin, add more icing sugar. It’s a feeling thing, I didn’t use measuring utensils. You will need a more thick variety for piping edges and a more thin variety for flooding.

two: once you’ve reached your desired consistency add your food colouring. You may need to tweek it a tiny bit more again if the food colouring made it too thin.

three: pipe away! I will eventually do a post about icing cookies, but for now read this explanation for a good description of how to do it!

I was able to get 30 of these reindeer cookies from 1/3 of the recipe, so I imagine I probably could have almost 100 from the full batch!  What you end up with of course will depend on the size of your cookie cutter.

What recipe do you make for Christmas every single year?  Try these and let me know what you think in the comments.  I hope they become your tradition, too!


First Snowman Season Onesie: Quirky Monkey

Camera: Olympus O-MD E-M10 Mark II with 14-42mm IIR lens


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