Ginger Bread cookies with royal icing7:44 AM
Some days I feel very ancient as if I or rather my generation belong to some other time. Just the other day when my almost 8 rolled his eyes when I told him that we grew up watching only one channel or the time my niece rolled out laughing when I fleetingly mentioned that we used to study with kerosene lamps every evening as power cuts were very rampant in our childhood or the time when my neighbour's son found me lunatic when I told him we dint have pizza or pasta in our childhood. It is as much difficult for them to visualise that simple time as it is for me to believe how much has changed in such short span of time.
But am glad when every year during Christmas these same little ones of the family write their wishlists to Santa. At least there are some things that even time cannot change. The magic of Santa is one of them...The same stories of an old man who lives in North Pole and on every Christmas Eve he comes down the chimney and leaves them a gift has wooed her grand parents, her parents and now hers...It's a fable with which we have been fed and now we feed our children many unliked morsels and make them do things that they detest.
For me Christmas is very special. May be because I grew up in a town where Poush Mela (falls around 25th December every year) was more important a celebration than Durga puja and attending Khristotsav (an event celebrating the birth of Jesus in Santiniketan with prayers and music) every year provided solace to my young soul in an unknown way. and there's nothing like these ginger bread cookies that spell Christmas to me.
They are full of warm spices like ginger, nutmeg, allspice, clove and cinnamon thats complemented with a dark earthy colour lent by caramely brown sugar and smoky molasses. Nothing could be more comforting in winter than sharing a cuppa and these cookies with your loved ones overlooking a foggy wintry morning. For me they are like a giant hug encapsulated in bite size portions. It comforts and warms you up from inside. If handmade gifts are the best then be assured that receieving a bag of these cookies means you are very special to them.
This year I baked these with my son who mixed, rolled, chose the shapes, cut and baked them to perfection. All I did was to be there and when finished to decorate them.
Ginger bread cookies:
Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
(Makes 2 dozen 2" cookies)
Flour: 21/2 cups
Butter: 100 gms
Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg powder: 1/8 tsp
Baking powder: 2/3 tsp
Baking soda: 1/4 tsp
Brown sugar: 1/2 cup
Molasses: 1/2 cup (I used semi thick nolen gur)
Egg: 1/2 of a large one
In a sauze pan mix brown sugar. mollasses and butter and melt. Take off from heat and mix in the spices. Let it cool.
In the mean time mix the flour with soda and baking powder. I used salted Amul butter hence dint use salt.
Once the molasses mixture is cool mix in the egg and stir. Now add all other ingredient and mix to get a dough. If its tight add little milk. If loose add little flour. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Now set your work station clean and line 2-3 baking tray with foil or baking paper.
Take out the dough and roll them out between two sheets of baking paper or cling film. Dust them generously. Roll to a thickness of min. 1/4" . Cut with your cookie cutters dipped in flour and gently transfer to the lined cookie sheet. Repeat to cut, gather scraps and rolling out again till your dough is over.
Bake in a pre heated oven of 175C for 10-15 minutes.
Take out. cool on a wire rack and once completely cold store them in air tight container.
Egg white: 1 egg (Make sure the egg is pasteurized)
Lemon juice: 1/2 tsp
Icing sugar: 11/2 cup
Mix the egg white and lemon juice . Add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time and mix. Once you are thick with the consistency (when the beater leaves a trail) stop adding sugar.
Pour it in a piping bag and make a very small hole.
Ice as per your wish. Dry them for 6-8 hours before storing.
A Homemaker's Notes:
Always ice cookies when they are completely cold.
Prevent the icing from drying by covering it with a damp towel.