Monday, January 9, 2012

Espresso Gingerbread Cutouts

Drumroll please......
Finally! The espresso gingerbread cutouts are here.... in 3 different ways! These cookies are absolutely delicious. Gingerbread cookies were never a favorite of mine. I prefer something chocolate, dipped in chocolate, rolled in chocolate (you get the picture). However, these cookies were soft and chewy with just the right amount of spices. In essence, they were a perfect cookie. And that was just by itself. They only got better when I decorated a few of them in a couple different ways.

Doesn't it look yummy? That beautiful shade of brown is from all the ingredients, not from over-baking the cookies (maybe that's why I usually don't eat gingerbread? It's usually too crispy and crunchy for me). Here's the recipe:

Espresso Gingerbread Cutouts (Baking Unplugged, Nicole Rees)

1 cup unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp dark molasses, preferably Barbados style (note: I ordered mine through Amazon)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder (note: I ordered mine from King Arthur's Flour)
3/4 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

The day before: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugars, and molasses until fluffy with no lumps. Stir in the egg, espresso powder, and salt until the dough is smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and spices, until combined. Form the dough into a rough rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The day of: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough in half. Between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out half of the dough into a rectangle 3/16" to 1/4" thick (this took some arm power and sweat!). Freeze the sheet of rolled dough until firm (15 minutes). Roll out the other half in the same manner. Cut out the cookies, using one chilled half at a time, and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are firm and the centers are set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


For the above topping: reconstitue 1 tsp of espresso powder in 1 cup of hot water. Pour 1 cup of confectioner's sugar into a cup. Add 1 tsp of the reconstituted espresso powder at a time to the powdered sugar until it is smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

For these cookies: melt 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate baking bars then dip the cookies into the melted chocolate.

These cookies are definitely worth trying out. Yes, they are a little time consuming and require a little sweat and muscle power, but the end results are a satisfyingly sweet and spicy cookie.

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