Gingerbread Snowflakes

Merry Christmas Eve, friends! I hope you are all enjoying this time with your family and friends; I know I am!

Confession: I did not ice these beautiful cookies. That credit goes to my incredibly talented mom. I attempted to ice one, but it turned out to resemble an unfortunate starfish, not my intention as you can imagine. After my first attempt I begged my mom to take over. She obliged, and they turned out to be stunning!

Another confession: these cookies are just a bit time-consuming. But once you can get past that and really dedicate the time to them, they turn out so impressive and surprisingly delicious! I love gingerbread anything, but wasn’t so sure about this dough. It had quite a bit of dark molasses, not something that I particularly care for, but the combination of spices turned out to make these cookies moist and so flavorful.

I found this recipe in my Martha Stewart’s Cookies book and pretty much followed it directly. After I made the dough, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and chilled for a couple of days. You at least want to chill it over night; this dough is super sticky. The recipe instructed me to chill the dough after every step, basically after I rolled out the dough and cut them into the shapes. I scoffed at this idea, deeming it superfluous, but quickly ate my words. The dough thawed out immediately after rolling it, and I could not cut out the shapes fast enough before the dough was sticking to the wax paper. My suggestion is to just clear out a good few hours of your day to get these cookies in and out of the oven, you’re going to need it. Chilling them in the freezer 15 minutes before baking them also lends to the crisp and sharp edges the snowflake shape requires. We found the snowflake cookie cutters at Williams-Sonoma; they were a good 5-6 inches in length.

These cookies would be an impressive gift in and of themselves! Stack two or three together and tie with a bow, and you have a lovely present for friends. Here’s the recipe!

Gingerbread Snowflakes from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

5 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tsps ginger

4 tsps cinnamon

1 1/2 tsps ground cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

2 sticks butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups molasses

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Mix butter and brown sugar with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until all is incorporated (the dough will be extremely thick.) Wrap in plastic wrap and chill over night.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Roll half of the dough out onto liberally floured wax paper, then chill for 15 minutes in freezer. Then cut the snowflake shapes and transfer to wax paper covered cookie sheet. Chill for another 15 minutes in freezer. After, bake immediately in the oven for 12-15 minutes, just until firm. Repeat with other half of dough until all the excess dough is used. Let cookies cool on wire rack.

Royal Icing

1 lb. confectioner’s sugar

5 tablespoons meringue powder (can be found at any crafting store)

scant 1/2 cup water

Combine ingredients with a mixer until icing is smooth. Transfer to icing bag with tip and decorate cookies with desired snowflake designs. Sprinkle with fine sanding sugar for snow effect. Enjoy!

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