Jackie’s Kitchen: Make your own Christmas cookies

Jacquelin Everhart

I love going into the kitchen around Christmas time and finding a mound of decorated cookies on the counter. The only problem with seeing all of these cookies is the temptation I get to eat them – and the fact that I cannot eat one.

My mother’s hobby has always been baking and her favorite time of year is Christmas because it is an excuse to bake lots of cookies. It may sound like a chance for me to pig out on these sugary treasures, but that is not the case. While she likes to bake, she also likes to give her goodies away to friends and family.

I decided to step up to the plate and bake my own cookies; this way I can eat as many of them as I want to.

Like my mother, I favor Christmas over any other holiday; therefore, this year I was inspired to put in more effort for these festive cookies and make them from scratch.

Gingerbread cookies can either be soft or crisp, depending on your preference. I enjoy a little of both, and that is why I liked this cookie recipe. The cookie was soft in the middle and crisp on the edges.

Gingerbread Cookies

5 1⁄2 cups flour

2 sticks butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons ground ginger

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1⁄2 cups unsulfured molasses

Cookie Icing

3 3⁄4 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons meringue powder

6 tablespoons warm water

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and spices in medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating the mixture after each egg is dropped in. Add molasses and beat the mixture on low speed. Add the flour mixture a cup at a time and mix thoroughly.

Lay down three sheets of plastic wrap. Divide the dough into three parts and put each section of the dough on its own sheet of plastic. Grab corners of the plastic and pinch together. This will secure the dough in the plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.

Place parchment paper on an 11-inch-by-15-inch cookie tray. Flour the parchment paper and lay out the dough. Roll out the dough so that it is 1⁄2 inch thick and freeze for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F and remove dough from freezer. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters – I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Put dough back into freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and place cookies in the oven for 14 minutes.

Now for the icing: Mix the powdered sugar, meringue powder and water in a bowl until they are all dissolved.

Put icing in plastic bag and cut one corner. Make sure you don’t cut too much or the frosting will pour out too fast.

Decorate the gingerbread cookies any way you desire using the frosting, sprinkles or even bits of your favorite candy.

Jacquelin Everhart can be reached at [email protected]