Gingerbread is the only cookie I’ll leave out for Santa and his reindeer. I especially love this recipe from Hood.com that uses a cookie cutter to make star shapes. Gathering the kids around to decorate the cookies like beautiful snowflakes makes for a fun, seasonal snack that goes perfectly with a warm cup of hot chocolate. For more delicious seasonal recipes visit Hood.com
Leave Santa something special this year with these Hood Gingerbread Stars.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, black pepper and salt. Set the bowl aside.
In another large mixing bowl, combine the granulated white sugar and light brown sugar. Whisk in the melted butter. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined with no lumps. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the molasses.
Fold the flour mixture into the sugar and molasses mixture in three stages, alternating with the sour cream. The dough will be sticky and thick, but do not over-mix it. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap sprinkled with flour. Form the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Sprinkle a flat counter surface with flour, and coat a rolling pin with flour. Take a portion of the dough (approximately 1/4) and roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough with a 4-inch star cookie cutter (or other desired shape), and evenly space the cookies onto the lined pans, about 2 inches apart from each other. With a pastry brush or your fingertip, brush the top surface of each cookie with water, removing any excess flour. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown lightly. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack until ready to decorate. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, following the same steps as before. Form the excess dough scraps into a ball and re-roll and cut. If the dough gets too soft to handle, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes until firm.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites or meringue powder, and the vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the sifted confectioners' sugar in three stages, 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of water. If you are using meringue powder, you will need to add at least 2-3 tablespoons more water. Whisk slowly until there are no lumps. The icing should be smooth and shiny, and resemble a thick ribbon when poured onto itself. If the icing is too thick, sprinkle the mixture with a small amount of water and whisk until it is thinner. If desired, color the icing with food coloring at this stage.
Scoop the icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the icing onto the cookies to decorate immediately. If you don't have a pastry bag, simply decorate the cookies with the icing using an offset spatula. While the icing is still wet, decorate with sprinkles or candies if desired. Let the icing dry until hardened. Store any remaining icing by covering the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerating in an air-tight container. Package the decorated cookies as holiday gifts, or store them covered until ready to serve.