Winter gets such a bad rap. People lament the dark, the cold, the snow. But I love this season; there’s something magical about winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and how we get just a bit more light each day that follows. We get to see the bones of the trees, and appreciate them all the more when they turn green in the springtime. As far as seasons go, I truly do enjoy them all. But if I had my choice of winter over summer, I’d take winter every single time.
In celebration of the season (both winter and holiday) I decided to bake these gingerbread snowflakes, and they turned out really well. I incorporated the zest from half a lemon into the dough, but I don’t think it really comes through, as they’d say on the Great British Baking Show. Next time, I’ll try more zest to see if it enhances the flavor, as ginger and lemon are good flavor friends.
For the cookies
- 10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- Zest from half a lemon
For the icing
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice or water
To make the dough, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, dark brown sugar, and molasses on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times. With the mixer running on low, slowly beat in the flour mixture. Dough will be very thick and sticky. Divide into two portions and flatten into discs; wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap one disc of dough and place it on a floured surface; this dough is very sticky, so you need plenty of flour for your work surface, rolling pin, and hands. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut using a snowflake cutter.
Place cookies on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, until edges are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, combine powdered sugar, milk, and corn syrup, then add enough lemon juice or water to make a fairly thick but still pipeable consistency. Fit a piping bag with a small plain tip and pipe on snowflake details.
Allow icing to harden before storing between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container; store cookies at room temperature for about 3-4 days. Makes 36; my cutter is about 4 inches wide, and the quantity will vary depending on the size of the cutter.