Buttery Gingerbread Dough
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2½ hours
Makes: 1 batch dough
Use this classic gingerbread dough to make our Stained Glass Gingerbread Ornaments (see recipe, right).
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
⅔ cup fancy molasses
½ cup cooking molasses
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp each cinnamon and ground cloves 1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in fancy molasses and cooking molasses until combined. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture in 3 additions just until combined. If necessary, knead gently to form smooth dough. Divide dough in half; shape into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Between waxed paper or on lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant ¼-inch thickness. Using about 3-inch festive cookie cutters, cut out shapes, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange, 1 inch apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Using small plain piping tip, punch hole in top of each cookie.
Cut out centre of each cookie, leaving at least ¼-inch border. Spoon different-colour ground candies into centre of each cookie to fill cutout. Gently pat down candy until level with cookies; brush off any excess. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 325°F oven until cookies are firm and candies are melted (do not touch candy), about 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 15 minutes; transfer directly to racks to cool completely.
In bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, 30 to 60 seconds; beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until stiff and glossy, about 4 minutes. Using food colouring, tint icing to desired shade (if using). Spoon icing into piping bag fitted with small plain tip; pipe icing into decorative border or design on each ornament. Let stand until dry, about 25 minutes. Thread 5-inch piece of yarn, ribbon or raffia through hole at top of each ornament; tie ends together.