Maple Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 5 dozen cookies
Recipe: 100/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 48                                                                                                                                  
dsc_8375

I have actually (and surprisingly!) never made gingerbread cookies, so I thought that there would be no better dessert to bring at work for the last day before the holidays than these cute gingerbread cookies. The recipe was easy to follow and I took pleasure in rolling out the dough and cutting out cute shapes to make the cookies – I had gingerbread man, tree and snowman cookie cutters. I had never used royal icing to frost any cookies or cakes, and I thoroughly enjoyed decorating the cookies with icing and sugar pieces. Decorating anything, whether it be cakes, cupcakes and now cookies, has always been my favourite part of making dessert! At first try I found that these cookies were mild and did not taste a lot like maple or even ginger, but after the second and third cookies I realized that these are simply a milder-tasting version of the traditional molasses gingerbread cookies but still taste good. These cute gingerbread cookies would please anyone during this merry time of the year. Happy holidays and happy baking!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter with the brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg, ginger and lemon zest. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three separate additions while mixing at low speed. Separate the dough in three balls and wrap them in plastic wrap to form three discs. Chill until firm, about 2 hours. Note: The dough will be very soft.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first piece of cookie dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter of any desired shape. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays, leaving a gap of ½ inch between them. Repeat rolling and cutting the remaining two discs. Leftover scraps from cutting out the cookies can be wrapped up and chilled in the fridge for another 10 minutes before being rerolled.
  7. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool the cookies on the trays before transferring them to an airtight container. The cookies can be decorated with icing or simply dusted with icing sugar, as desired.

Notes from Anna:

  • The maple adds some sweetness to the cookies, which are milder than traditional molasses gingerbread cookies.

dsc_8387

dsc_8392

Valerie

Gingerbread Cream Pie

Pies and Tarts

Yield: one 9-inch pie
Recipe: 48/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 95

Gingerbread Cream Pie

     It had been some time since I had made a pie, so I decided to try this recipe for a gingerbread cream pie, mostly because it sounded so scrumptious! I did not have any problems make the dough or the filling and everything seemed to be going as planned. I left the filling to set overnight and prepared the topping only the following day. The filling was delicious and the topping was just as tasty. However, for some reason when I cut the first slice of pie after having let everything set for a couple of hours, the pie essentially collapsed. It’s almost as if the topping was too heavy for the filling, and this led to the filing  becoming more liquid and dispersing everywhere. Perhaps the filling had not set enough or maybe the topping was in fact too dense (I may inadvertently have went a little past the soft peak stage when beating the cream). Although the pie was not very pretty-looking, it was excellent and had a very present yet not overwhelming gingerbread taste. I will definitely attempt this again again to try to have a pie that retains its composition!

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 recipe Double-Crust Pie Dough
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1  1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  3/4 cups milk

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1  1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons instant skim milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pull the chilled dough from the fridge 30 minutes before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and line a 9-inch pie shell with the dough. Trim and pinch the edges and chill the pie shell for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the pie shell with aluminium foil and weight down with pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and the weights and bake for 10-12 more minutes until the centre of the pie shell is dry and the edges are lightly browned. Allow the pie shell to cool while preparing the filling.
  3. To prepare the filling, heat the butter and brown sugar in a saucepot over medium heat, stirring until bubbling.
  4. Whisk in the whipping cream and the molasses, and stir until just below a simmer.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, fresh ginger, spices, salt and milk.
  6. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until homogeneously blended. Return the mixture to the saucepot and whisk over medium heat until thickened and just beginning to bubble, about 4 minutes.
  7. Strain into a bowl and pour into the cooled pie shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and chill until set, about 6 hours.
  8. For the topping, whip the cream to soft peaks using a stand or hand mixer. Fold in the sugar, instant skim milk powder, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Spread generously over the gingerbread filling and chill until ready to serve.

Valerie

Classic Gingerbread Cake

Cakes and Cupcakes

Yield: one 8-inch square cake
Recipe: 9/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 132

Gingerbread cake

    Following the oatmeal and raisin cookies I baked last week to start off the holiday season, I figured it was time to try something completely new to me. A classic to most, but undoubtedly new to me. This dessert I had yet to ever bake myself or even taste. I am speaking of the classic gingerbread cake. Sure, I have tasted gingerbread cookies, but not a cake per se. I was very much looking forward to baking this cake and letting the aroma fill my kitchen in these cold winter days.

   Although the ingredient list for this recipe is seemingly long, a lot of them are spices or other products that are commonly found in one’s pantry. This recipe was straightforward to make. I greatly appreciated foremost the delicious aroma of the gingerbread cake as it was baking in the oven. I also enjoyed the moist and distinct taste of the gingerbread cake. There was one spice, however, that I was not used to (perhaps the cloves or allspice) which came as a surprise as I took the first couple of bites, but it did not change the fact that the cake was very good. The spice in question simply provided a surprise element.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fancy molasses
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and side of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together until homogeneously combined. Add the eggs, making sure to beat well after each addition.
  4. Add the molasses and lemon zest to the butter mixture. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until blended.
  6. Stir in the hot water then add the chocolate chips.
  7. Scrape the batter into the pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Valerie