Send guests home with plenty of treats. If y ou're feeling ambitious, create edible, gingerbread carrying boxes. Alternately, ho.iday tins lined with tissue paper make lovely, reusable containers.
Makes 35 to 40 cookies, 3 to 4 inches each
At our party, these cookies made a dramatic appearance as angels descending from on high — above our table, that is.
Note: While this dough is perfect for smaller cookie cutouts like our angels, you should choose a sturdier dough with bread flour for any major gingerbread construction.
• 5 cups bleached all-purpose flour
• 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 cup shortening
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 cup molasses
• 2 tablespoons white vinegar
• 4 to 5 tablespoons coriander seed, crushed (for sprinkling on cookie sheets)
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and ground spices in a large bowl. Set aside. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat shortening until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beaten egg, molasses and vinegar. Mix well. Add reserved dry ingredients, stirring just to combine. Separate dough in half and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours, or until dough can be rolled without sticking.
Place a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two or three 15-by-10-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper, sprinkle evenly with crushed coriander seed and set aside. Working with one disk at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1⁄8-inch thickness. Cut out assorted angels and other holiday shapes using cookie cutters. Carefully transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheets, leaving an inch between each shape. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges. Immediately transfer to cooling racks and cool completely before frosting with Royal Icing or storing. Make ahead and store as directed for Anise-Scented Sugar Cookies.
Julia M. Usher is a food writer, recipe developer and food stylist in St. Louis. Contact her by visiting www.HerbCompanion.com/contributors.aspx
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