In between filming our melodramatic NY Jets-meets-out-of-sight-Pot-Roast video, Marmo and I made more Christmas cookies. As I mentioned on Twitter, The Box laid waste to the butter cookies (actually, Marmo made more of them and hid them in a top secret spot - he hasn't found them yet!). But we needed more butter cookies. This time, we decided to branch out a bit.
Marmo found a fantastic recipe in the Holiday Edition of Food and Wine: Ginger-Studded Sugar Cookies, in which you use crystallized ginger. Crystallized ginger is, if you didn't know, awesome. I was totally on board with this recipe. Also, it involved decorating them with shiny little balls of sugar, which I was also excited about.
Incidentally, Marmo left me a voicemail telling me to go purchase said glittery sugar balls at a baking supply shop near my office. I never listened to her voicemail. I usually ignore all my voicemails, just so you know. Don't leave me one. Anyway, she had the presence of mind to figure this out for herself and get us some. And so it began!
What You Need:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
Royal icing (recipe follows)
Colored sugars and/or dragées for decoration
What To Do:
In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the flour and salt at low speed until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, ginger, vanilla and orange zest and beat at low speed until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, roll out the dough a scant 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out shapes as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 14 to 18 minutes depending on their size. Transfer to a rack to cool. Meanwhile, refrigerate the scraps until chilled, then reroll, stamp out more cookies and bake.
Decorate the cookies with Royal Icing, colored sugars and silver dragées.
The baked, undecorated cookies can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. The decorated cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
What You Need:
1 large egg white
1/2 pound confectioners' sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
What To Do:
In a bowl, beat the egg white at medium speed until foamy. Add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating between additions until the sugar is completely incorporated. Add the lemon juice and beat at high speed until the icing holds its shape, about 5 minutes. Thin with water as needed. Throw some icing into a pastry bad and pipe onto the cookies. If you don't have a pastry bag, no problem. Get a Ziploc bag, trim off a teeeeeeny-tiny piece of one of the corners and use that to pipe your icing.
Notes: It's much easier to apply the little, shiny colored balls to the cookies with tweezers. Really, we tried it. HUGE difference. For fun, you can add some food coloring to the icing. We did some in light blue. Also, you cam make these any time of year. Just get differently-shapped cookie cutters. Like a groundhog-shaped one for February.