Gingerbread Cookies With Royal Icing

READY IN: 40mins




  • For the cookies: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves and cinnamon until well mixed. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer on low speed, blend the shortening and sugar. Add the molasses and eggs, then gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. The dough will be sticky. Divide into quarters, shape into flattened disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
  • Position an oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  • Lightly dust each disk with flour and place it between sheets of wax paper. Roll it 1/4-inch thick for chewy cookies or 1/8-inch thick for crisp cookies. Lift off and reserve the top layer of wax paper. Dip cookie cutters in flour and cut designs in the dough, leaving excess dough in place. Put wax paper back on top, slide a baking sheet under the lower sheet of wax paper and transfer the dough and baking sheet to the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is firm but not frozen.
  • Transfer 1 sheet of dough, with the cold baking sheet still under it, to a work surface. Remove the top sheet of wax paper, lift up the dough and push the cutout cookies from behind to free them. Quickly place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake small cookies for about 6 minutes, medium for 8 and large for 10 to 12, or until edges are light brown (baking time will vary, depending on thickness of dough). Let sit for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. If not iced immediately, they may be stored for 4 weeks in airtight containers at room temperature or wrapped in plastic and frozen.
  • For the royal icing: Using a stand mixer on high speed, beat the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, water and orange extract for about 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Unless using immediately, place plastic wrap directly on the icing. To create different colors, transfer some icing to small bowls and add gel or paste food coloring.