When the kids come to decorate, I have found that giving them cookies decorated with a base of royal icing makes prettier cookies!
Favorite Gingerbread Cookies
These are from bakeat350.net: http://www.bakeat350.net/2012/12/simple-decorated-gingerbread-cookies.html
5-1/2 c unbleached, all purpose flour (I always use King Arthur's)
1-1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1-1/2 T ground ginger (yes tablespoons)
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t cloves
1 c salted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 c molasses
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt & spices together. Set aside.
In another large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars for several minutes until combined and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and beat until combined.
In three additions, add the flour mixture on low speed. Mix until combined, stopping to sc rape the bowl as needed.
Divide the dough into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
Roll (between parchment -- I like to do this so I am not adding more flour). Roll to 1/4 or 3/8". You can dip the cookie cutter (if intricate) into flour before cutting.
Place shapes on prepared sheets and freeze for 5-10 minutes before baking.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until they appear done. Let sit on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating with royal or buttercream frosting.
My favorite buttercream frosting:
Kids like buttercream frosting! It is easy for them to decorate with and good to eat. You can't stack or package the cookies after decorating but the frosting is really good!
This recipe is from beyondfrosting.com: https://beyondfrosting.com/2014/08/11/perfect-vanilla-frosting/
The not-so-secret ingredient to a creamy, velvety frosting is heavy whipping cream. It’s an ingredient that usually doesn’t come cheap, but it is makes the difference. Sure, you can substitute with milk instead but using the heavy whipping cream will help give you those extra air bubbles in the frosting once it’s whipped.
The rule of thumb for this vanilla frosting is that you should use 2 cups of powdered sugar for every stick of butter (1/2 cup). You can always make the frosting more stiff by adding more powdered sugar. You can also add additional heavy cream to offset the sweetness and make it softer.
The last thing you can do it cut the sweetness is to add a pinch of salt, but adding little by little is key. Too much salt cannot be fixed.
This frosting recipe makes enough for at least 24 cupcakes that have a hefty amount of frosting. The second rule I live by when it comes to frosting, is never come up short. So I usually end up with more than enough frosting.
This Perfect Vanilla Frosting Recipe recipe is very versatile. It’s a basic vanilla buttercream using butter and powdered sugar. This is the perfect frosting for piping cupcakes and cake decorating.
- 1 1/2 C (3 sticks) Unsalted butter, cold.
- 5 C Powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Heavy whipping cream
- Cut butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until butter look light in color.
- Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into butter then add 2 tsp of vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
- Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add last 1 cup powdered sugar along with 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract . Beat on low until ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
- This frosting can be kept at room temperature if serving within 24 hours and it’s not too hot. It can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for two days. Frosting must come back to room temperature before piping.
- If you are coloring this frosting, I suggest to try using a clear vanilla extract to keep the frosting a pure white