This week I whipped up eggnog-stuffed gingerbread cookies for my office cookie exchange, and you folks seemed pretty pumped when I shared a peek on Instagram. Lots of you have been asking for my recipe so here it is!
Now, when it comes to the culinary arts I am NOT gifted (I burn water), so I swear these are super easy. Follow the steps and you'll have no trouble! First, whip up the gingerbread. Here's how:
Prep time: 20 min Cook time: 8 min Yield: 6-8 dozen depending on size of cookie cutter
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted (Stirling Creamery is my fave)
1 cup molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but overnight is ideal. I know this step sounds long but it makes the dough SO much easier to work with: it won't stick to your rolling pin at all after it's been chilled! You won't even need extra flour.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a big piece of parchment paper, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 or 2cm apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Parchment is your friend! No sticking and no burning.
4. I used a small cookie cutter that made 1.5" cookies, and 8 minutes was the perfect baking time. If you prefer your cookies a bit bigger, try baking for 10 to 12 minutes. When the cookies are done, they will look dry but will still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
eggnog & vanilla bean buttercream
Prep time: 15 min Cook time: 0 min Yield: plenty!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (find it at Pot & Pantry on Elgin!)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt **if you've only got salted butter, use it and skip the pinch of salt
When it comes to eggnog, I recommend Harmony Organic, Farm Boy's private brand, Reid's Dairy, and Kawartha Dairy. You can find all of these in Ottawa, especially at non-big-box grocers like Marché Hintonburg, Farmboy, Herb & Spice, and McKeen's Metro in the Glebe.
1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a either a whisk or paddle attachment (both work), and if you don't have a stand mixer grab a big metal bowl and a hand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
2. Turn the mixer to medium low, gradually add the icing sugar, and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the frosting is very airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. If your frosting turns out too running, thicken it by adding more icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time. If it's too thick/dry, add either more nog or water 1 tbsp at a time.
Use immediately to frost your cookies, or if you must, store it covered in the fridge then let it come to room temperature before you use it.
Other EASY COOKIE ideas
Wanna switch things up a bit? Follow the same recipe but serve 'em up differently:
Dunkaroos! Serve wee gingerbread cookies with a side of eggnog frosting for dipping. It's legit delicious. This version travels more easily than sandwich cookies if you're taking it to someone's house.
Make a 3-D Christmas tree! Use star-shaped cookie cutters in a variety of sizes, stack the cookies using eggnog frosting between layers to hold it all together. Final touch: drizzle with more frosting!
Or make bigger cookies using any cookie cutter, make a cookie sammich, then wrap them individually use as place settings or gift toppers.