Maria Puck's Holiday Spice Gingerbread Cookies

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READY IN: 45mins
Recipe by Wolfgang Puck Onlin

In the little Austrian town where I grew up, my mother was famous for her lebekuchen, or gingerbread cookies. She had a number of secrets, which I share with you in this lesson. One was to grind her own spices, though you can also use good-quality ones that are already ground. She flavored them with a mixture of both fresh and dried ginger. She also sweetened them three different ways, with granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, and blackstrap molasses. And yet, as you'll discover, these cookies are surprisingly easy—and so much fun—to make and decorate. To watch a video lesson with Wolfgang Puck for this recipe, please visit www.WolfgangPuckCookingSchool.com.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Creaming butter and sugar: In a heavy-duty stand mixer at medium speed, beat the butter, both sugars, and the salt until blended and light, scraping down the bowl occasionally.
  2. Beating in spices, egg & molasses: Gradually beat in the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ground ginger, egg, molasses, and fresh ginger.
  3. Beating in flour & baking soda: Sift the flour and baking soda onto a large sheet of parchment paper. With the mixer at low speed, gradually pour the flour mixture into the creamed mixture and continue beating just until fully incorporated and smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl and the beater.
  4. Chilling the dough: Empty half the dough from the mixing bowl onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a flat rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap up securely. Repeat with the second half. Chill in the refrigerator until cold and firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  5. Making the icing: Put the egg whites in a medium bowl, reserving the yolks for another use. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk until blended. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, until the icing is smooth and thick but still fluid. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  6. Shaping the cookies: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. With a sharp knife, cut a rectangle of dough into 1-inch cubes. Roll each cube between your palms to form even balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet; or use a 1-inch-diameter scoop to form the balls.
  7. Baking the cookies: Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until nicely puffed on top, well browned on the bottom, and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Leave on the baking sheets to cool briefly before decorating.
  8. Decorating the cookies: Fill a disposable plastic pastry-decorating bag or a sealable plastic sandwich bag with the icing and snip off a corner. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe the icing over the warm cookies in any design you like. Leave the cookies on the sheets to cool completely before serving.

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