Gingerbread is making a big comeback on the holiday decorating scene this year. From illuminated table displays to edible gift tags and ornaments, the traditional holiday favorite is getting a modern makeover that is sure to impress your party-goers and guests. No matter what creative use you have for these spiced cookies, the key to a perfect gingerbread display starts with the perfect dough. This isn’t the typical old fashioned recipe that will break your tooth if eaten. This is a soft flavorful cookie that is sturdy enough for building houses, yet chewy enough to actually eat. This recipe is ideal for cutting out various shapes. No chilling is required and the cookies are guaranteed to keep their shape while baking. No spreading in the oven! Royal icing is the ideal frosting to pipe your cookie designs. The meringue based icing not only acts as a glue for holding together the walls of your gingerbread house, but it also dries hard so the designs will last. These 2 recipes are the only ones you’ll ever need for any type of gingerbread cookie designs! Using LED candles, twinkle lights, edible snow and edible glass will really make your display stand out. For those of you who enjoy a challenge, you can find printable templates online to help you build something really special. Be creative and enjoy making this classic treat with your family this Christmas!

Perfect Gingerbread Cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 ½ tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp ground ginger

¾ tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup molasses

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixer, cream your butter and brown sugar together until completely blended and smooth.

Add in your molasses, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to fully incorporate.

Add in one egg at a time.

Add in the cornstarch, salt and spices, on a medium low speed.

Turn the mixer to low and add in one cup of flour at a time. Even if the dough looks dry, keep mixing another minute or two until the dough forms into a ball. If it still seems too sticky, you may add in a little flour until the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Roll the dough ¼ inch thick and cut as desired.

Bake on the lined cookie sheet for 10-14 minutes until firm to the touch and perfectly browned.

The dough can be refrigerated for later use but should be brought to room temperature before rolling.

Royal Icing

2 tbsp powdered meringue

5 tbsp water, room temp

1 tbsp clear vanilla extract

2 2/3 cup confectioners sugar, sifted.

Icing colors, gel - optional

More water - optional

In a medium mixing bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the meringue powder, vanilla and water until it makes a paste.

Whip on medium-high until it makes a foam, approximately 3 minutes.

Add in your sugar, incorporate slowly. Turn the mixer to high and whip approximately 5 more minutes until the icing forms stiff peaks.

At this point, you can add your desired colors.

This is the stiff consistency used for gluing gingerbread walls together. It can also be used with your favorite piping tips.

To thin the icing for flooding the surface of cookies, add a table spoon of water at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency.

The remaining icing should be refrigerated in an air tight container, with a damp paper towel covering the surface of the icing.

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