Gingerbread Cookies

My favorite gingerbread cookies have…

181220_GingerbreadZI4A8462 1.jpg gingerbread cookies | apt 2b baking co

My favorite gingerbread cookies have been up on the site, but a little hidden within another post, for a long time. So, this year I decided to give them a little refresh and some new fun photos. These can be made into cookie ornaments too! Just make sure to bake them for an extra minute or two, until they are crisp and dark brown, and don’t forget to poke a hole in the cookies before baking. I love the contrast of the deep golden cookies and white icing so I tend to ice these guys really simply with lines and dots of royal icing and lots of sparkly sanding sugar.


Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies

adapted from Simply Recipes

3 1/4 cups (415g) all-purpose flour


3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger


2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon finely ground black pepper 

1/4  teaspoon allspice


1 teaspoon kosher salt


14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup (110g) packed dark brown sugar 

1 large egg


1/2 cup unsulfured molasses 


In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and spices together. 

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the molasses and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling.


Heat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time roll the dough 1/8-1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin roll. Use a cookie cutter or stencil to cut out desired shapes then place them on the prepared baking sheets. For cookie ornaments, use a skewer to poke a hole through the top of the cookies before baking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies have just barely begun to brown. For cookie ornaments bake the cookies until they are lightly browned all over and firm to the touch. Cool the cookies on the sheet pans for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack
to cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

For the Icing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine all of the ingredients. Whisk on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then turn the mixer up to medium and whisk until smooth and glossy. 

For piping lines and shapes you’ll want thick icing. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl the icing should flow in thick ribbons that will hold their shape when they fall into the bowl below. Add a bit more confectioner’s sugar to the mixture if necessary to achieve this texture. Fill a piping bag with the icing and have fun!

For flooding and complete coverage of the cookies you’ll want thinner icing that holds its shape for a few seconds, then melts into the icing in the bowl. Add a bit more water, one teaspoon at a time to achieve this texture. Color the icing as desired.

Use the icing right away or store in an airtight container, with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir until smooth before using. Color the icing as desired.,


Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

Fit a piping bag with a small round tip #1 or #2 to pipe lines and shapes and/or another piping bag with a slightly larger tip #3 or #4 for flooding. Fill each bag with the corresponding icing and have fun! Practice on a piece of parchment paper if you are nervous, but truly if you think you messed up - just cover your cookies with sprinkles! 

For the trees in this post I used the flooding icing to draw a line around the border of each cookie, then filled it in completely and sprinkled to my heart’s content. After the trees had dried slightly I went back and used the piping icing to draw the trunks. 

You can also use a spoon to cover the cookies with thinner flooding icing or dip them, have fun! Don’t worry to much about it!

If you are adding sanding sugar or sprinkles to your iced cookies you’ll want to add them just after you pipe the icing. Royal icing will develop a dry skin very quickly, so have your sprinkles at the ready.

If you’d like to pipe lines that sit on top on top of flooded cookies, let the flooding icing dry all of the way or the lines will melt into the flooded icing.

In any case make sure to let the cookies dry all of the way, uncovered, before stacking or packaging, I like to leave mine overnight.

gingerbread cookies | apt 2b baking co

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

My biggest cookie decorating advice is make sure the cookies are delicious, pick a limited color palate for your icing and sprinkles, and don’t worry too much about it! Have fun! M…

cut out sugar cookies | apt 2b baking co

My biggest cookie decorating advice is make sure the cookies are delicious, pick a limited color palate for your icing and sprinkles, and don’t worry too much about it! Have fun! Make a mess! Cover everything with sprinkles!

These are the most delicious and tender cut out cookies I’ve ever made. They have a combination of sugars and a few extra egg yolks which give them excellent flavor and texture. I add a little bit of almond extract too, but it’s totally optional.

I’ve also included some royal icing tips below, but again, my best advice is don’t worry about it too much and have fun. It takes some practice pipe perfectly.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on size

adapted from Holiday Cookies by Elisabet Der Nederlanden

These cookies are tender, buttery and delicious. Decorate them with royal icing, leave them plain, or if you’d like to sprinkle the un-iced cookies add the sprinkles or sanding sugar before baking. Press very lightly to adhere the sprinkles to the dough.

3 3/4 cups (480g) all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (55g) confectioners sugar

2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted

6 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

For the Cookies

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and divide it in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before rolling.

When you are ready to bake, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350ºF and position 2 racks evenly spaced in the center of the oven.

Roll one of the chilled dough rounds out onto a lightly floured surface just under 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut as many cookies as possible. Carefully transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2-inches in between the cookies. Gather up the scraps and roll and cut another round of cookies. Refrigerate the cut cookies for about 15 minutes before baking.

Repeat with the second round of dough.

Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes or until they are light golden. Rotate the racks from from to back and top to bottom. The baking time will depend quite a bit on the size of the cookies so if yours are quite large or small, they may take more or less baking time.

Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let sit for five minutes. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely before icing.

For the Icing

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine all of the ingredients. Whisk on low speed until the sugar is moistened, then turn the mixer up to medium and whisk until smooth and glossy.

For piping lines and shapes you’ll want thick icing. When you lift the whisk out of the bowl the icing should flow in thick ribbons that will hold their shape when they fall into the bowl below. Add a bit more confectioner’s sugar to the mixture if necessary to achieve this texture. Fill a piping bag with the icing and have fun!

For flooding and complete coverage of the cookies you’ll want thinner icing that holds its shape for a few seconds, then melts into the icing in the bowl. Add a bit more water, one teaspoon at a time to achieve this texture. Color the icing as desired.

Use the icing right away or store in an airtight container, with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Stir until smooth before using. Color the icing as desired.

Royal Icing Tips and Tricks

Fit a piping bag with a small round tip #1 or #2 to pipe lines and shapes and/or another piping bag with a slightly larger tip #3 or #4 for flooding. Fill each bag with the corresponding icing and have fun! Practice on a piece of parchment paper if you are nervous, but truly if you think you messed up - just cover your cookies with sprinkles!

For the trees in this post I used the flooding icing to draw a line around the border of each cookie, then filled it in completely and sprinkled to my heart’s content. After the trees had dried slightly I went back and used the piping icing to draw the trunks.

You can also use a spoon to cover the cookies with thinner flooding icing or dip them, have fun! Don’t worry to much about it!

If you are adding sanding sugar or sprinkles to your iced cookies you’ll want to add them just after you pipe the icing. Royal icing will develop a dry skin very quickly, so have your sprinkles at the ready.

If you’d like to pipe lines that sit on top on top of flooded cookies, let the flooding icing dry all of the way or the lines will melt into the flooded icing.

In any case make sure to let the cookies dry all of the way, uncovered, before stacking or packaging, I like to leave mine overnight.

cut out sugar cookies | apt 2b baking co

Sister Pie’s Buttered Rum Shortbread

These slice and bake cookies are my favorite sort of thing to put in a cookie assortment because they are so easy to make and so sneakily delicious. You might see a light brown rou…

Buttered Rum Shortbread | apt 2b baking co

These slice and bake cookies are my favorite sort of thing to put in a cookie assortment because they are so easy to make and so sneakily delicious. You might see a light brown round like this on a cookie plate and pass it up for something a little more exciting looking or powdered sugar coated, but when you take a bite you will be so pleasantly surprised. They are lightly spiced, crisp, and buttery with a little kick of rum, because Christmas. I also added a sprinkle of crushed freeze dried raspberries - you know - for flair. Bonus: they also stay fresh for quite awhile and the flavors get even better after a day or two.

The recipe comes from Sister Pie, a cookbook that came out this Fall, which is filled with so many incredible sounding recipes. I admit, I haven’t made a Sister Pie yet, but I’m sure the flavors are as spot on as these cookies!


Sister Pie’s Buttered Rum Shortbread

Makes 36 cookies

From Sister Pie by Lisa Ludwinski

I made a few small changes to Lisa’s recipe - I used browned butter in the icing instead of coconut oil and added sprinkle of dehydrated raspberries after I glazed the cookies, I also added 1/2 teaspoon more salt to the shortbread dough. The recipe that follows is straight from the book without my mods.

Shortbread

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons dark or spiced rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

Rum Icing

3/4 cup powdered sugar plus more as needed

2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons dark or spiced rum

2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more as needed

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Mix the dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until very smooth with no visible chunks of butter.

Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the bowl, then add the rum and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a cylindrical log approximately 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes. You can mix and shape the dough up to 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until 1 hour before you intend to slice the dough. Alternately, you may freeze the dough for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the cookies about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully transfer them to the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Make the Icing. While the cookies are cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, coconut oil, rum, cream, salt, and cloves until very smooth. The texture should remind you of Elmer’s glue. Yum! If the icing seems a little dry, whisk in a bit more heavy cream, If it seems a little too wet, whisk in the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once the cookies have fully cooled, use a small offset spatula or knife to spread a very thin, even layer of icing across the tops of the cookies. It should be carefully smoothed, not gloppy. Return the cookies to the baking sheets to hive the icing a chance to set up before serving. Store the iced cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.



Stamped Brownie Cookies

Stamped Brownie Cookies | apt 2b baking co Stamped Brownie Cookies | apt 2b baking co Stamped Brownie Cookies | apt 2b baking co

Last year I fell in love with stamped gingerbread cookies so this year I was primed and ready for another stampable cookie for my holiday packages. I find that darker doughs - like chocolate or gingerbread are the most dramatic when glazed, so I went for deep rich chocolate with both Dutch process and black cocoas. You can stamp just about any cut out cookie dough that holds it’s shape while baking though, so if you’ve invested in stamps try out a few doughs. And alternately, these cookies are absolutely gorgeous when stamped and glazed, but also work well as cut out cookies without a stamp. Happy Baking! I’ll be back soon with more cookies!


Stamped Brownie Cookies

makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

These soft and chewy chocolate cookies are gorgeous when stamped, but also work well as cut out cookies if you don’t have a stamp. Flavor the glaze however you like, but a little peppermint and vanilla is nice for the holidays. I bet a little bit of espresso powder instead would be just delicious. Make sure to not over bake the cookies, they’ll lose their chew and will be more of a standard sugar cookie. I found 7 minutes in my oven was just right, but keep an eye on yours as all ovens vary. I like to brush the glaze on with a pastry brush. Use a thin layer to see lots of the cookie peeking through or a thicker layer for a more opaque look.

Brownie Cookies

3 cups (384g) all purpose flour

1/2 cup (50g) dutch process cocoa powder

1/2 cup (50g) black cocoa powder (or dutch process)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups (330g) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons cream

seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

pinch salt

Whisk the flour, cocoas, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time. Mix until well combined then add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the dough is evenly mixed.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour and up to 2 days.

When you are ready to bake, arrange two racks as close to the center of the oven as possible and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Work with half of the dough at a time and roll out the dough so it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Dip the cookie stamps in a bowl of cocoa powder or flour, shake off any excess and then press them firmly into the dough, one at a time, to create a deep imprint. Use a round cutter to cut the cookies.

Transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheets about 1-inch apart. Re-roll the dough scraps and continue to stamp and cut until all the dough is used up. Bake the cookies until they are just firm to the touch and puffed, 7-10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking.

Prepare the glaze while the cookies are baking as it is best brushed on while they are still warm. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. It should be the texture of Elmer’s Glue. If it seems a little thin, add a tablespoon or two of confectioners sugar. If its thin, add a little more cream.

Remove the cookies from the oven, let them rest for 5 mins, then brush or dab the glaze all over with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.


I used hand carved cookie stamps for these cookies. Zozo Baking sells similar ones.

You can also find cookie stamps in most kitchenware shops or online.

Stamped Brownie Cookies | apt 2b baking co 181212_StampedBrownieCookiesZI4A8380.jpg

Buttermint Patties

Buttermint PattiesZI4A8204.jpg Buttermint PattiesZI4A8173.jpg Buttermint PattiesZI4A8189.jpg Buttermint PattiesZI4A8210.jpg Buttermint PattiesZI4A8200.jpg

Anyone else LOVE buttermints? You know, those old fashioned kinda hard, kinda chalky, but also creamy little candies that come with the check at some restaurants? I find them totally irresistible and these little confections have all the creamy, minty deliciousness of a buttermint with the texture, and chocolate coating of a peppermint patty. They are a perfect treat to make for holiday gifts, not too hard, but very special and VERY tasty.

I covered these with (slightly imperfect) tempered chocolate, which gives the candies a crisp and shiny chocolate coating at room temperature, but tempering can be kind of tricky business. I find the seeding method to be the most straightforward. But the great news is, even if your chocolate isn’t perfectly tempered you can just store your mints in the fridge - which honestly I’d recommend anyway because I think these are best served chilled. Here’s another great article by David Lebovitz about tempering.


Buttermint Patties

slightly adapted from Amanda Fredrickson’s Peppermint Patties

makes about 4 dozen, depending on size

You can coat these with any type of chocolate you like. I did some with semisweet and some milk, and some with a little of both. Just make sure to use high quality feves or chocolate bars - do not use chocolate chips which contain stabilizers that you don’t want for a coating like this. You can also top them with a little bit of crushed peppermint candy or cacao nibs. Also, feel free to divide the dough and make half with nibs and half without, which is what I did for the photos in this post.

Filling

5 cups (550g) confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoons corn syrup

3 tablespoons (45g) cultured butter, softened

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons peppermint extrat

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)

Topping

18 ounces high quality chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet or milk), chopped

flaky salt (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all of the filling ingredients except for the cacao nibs. Mix on low until all of the ingredients are moistened, add the cacao nibs (if using) then turn the mixer up to medium and mix until the mixture is the consistency of play dough.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/4’’ thick. Remove the top parchment and use a 1 1/2 or 2-inch circle cutter (or any other shape you like) to cut as many rounds as possible. Pull the excess dough away from the rounds (the rounds may be soft and tricky to move). Slide the parchment paper with the rounds onto a baking sheet and refrigerate. Gather up the dough scraps, re roll and cut more rounds. Again, transfer the parchment paper with the rounds onto a baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat until all of the dough is used.

While the rounds are chilling, temper the chocolate. Use a fork to dip the chilled rounds in the chocolate and shake off the excess. Transfer them to a clean piece of parchment paper to dry. Sprinkle with flaky salt or use the fork to drizzle with more chocolate for decoration. Let them harden then store, with layers of parchment in between the layers in an airtight container.

Buttermint PattiesZI4A8181.jpg

Fancy Jello Mold

Photo: Joe Lingeman for NYMAG

I don’t know about you guys, but I think jelly molds are ready for a comeback. Or are they already back? …

Photo:  Joe Lingeman  for  NYMAG

Photo: Joe Lingeman for NYMAG

I don’t know about you guys, but I think jelly molds are ready for a comeback. Or are they already back? I’ve seen them popping up here and there, and I have made a surprising number of them for photoshoots this year. I have totally fallen in love with their kitchy vibe and stunning colors. They can be totally delicious too! NYMag agrees and they asked me to create a gift worthy jelly mold for their annual gift guide which is on newsstands today. 

Impress your guests this holiday or bring one to a potluck and totally blow your friends minds. All you need is a fun shaped vessel – I like decorative cake pans (Nordicware makes great ones) but you could totally just use a regular glass or stainless mixing bowl, gelatin, juice, and some time. Have fun! Happy Holidays! 


Fancy Jelly Mold

I used Nordicware’s Charlotte Pan for this jelly, which is super cute and the little divots on top are the perfect shape to hold a cranberry or a raspberry. If you’d like to make a larger jelly mold you can double or triple this recipe. This jelly has some Framboise in it, but to make it more family friendly you can substitute cranberry juice for the Framboise. Pomegranate juice will also make a very tasty jelly, but it will be a bit more opaque and tart than the cranberry.

To suspend fruit in a larger mold, let the cranberry jelly mixture set until it is the texture of egg whites. At this point you can fold the fruit into the jelly and spoon it into the mold. The pictured mold uses cranberry juice, but you can also use pomegranate juice. The jelly will be slightly less clear and you will need to add 2 more tablespoons of sugar if using pomegranate juice.

For a clear jelly - Use white cranberry juice (or prosecco!) - every 3 cups of juice will need 2 envelopes of gelatin to set. You can also add a bit of clear liquor to the mix, like elderflower. Yum! If you’d like to add edible flowers, let the jelly set until it is the consistency of egg whites, pour it into the mold and place the flowers in the jelly one at a time. Make sure to arrange them to the prettiest side of the flowers is facing out because we all know this is about looks.

24 fresh cranberries

3 (1/4 ounce) envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin

3 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail or pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons sugar 

4 tablespoons Framboise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 

Food coloring (if desired)


Place 1 cranberry in each divot of the pan and set in the fridge to chill. 

Bloom the gelatin. In a small bowl stir the gelatin into 1 cup of the cranberry juice. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin is moistened.

Heat 1 cup cranberry juice and the sugar until simmering. Remove it from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved, warm it gently over low heat if necessary to dissolve the gelatin, but do not boil. Add the remaining cranberry juice, lemon juice, and Framboise, and stir to combine.

Divide the mixture between 2 containers (a measuring cup with a spout works great) and stir the condensed milk into 1/2 of the gelatin mixture. Keep the gelatin at room temperature as you build the layers.

Pour a thin layer of the clear cranberry gelatin over the top of the chilled cranberries in the mold, just to cover the cranberries and the bottom of the mold. Chill until completely firm, about 30 minutes. After it has chilled, gently pour 1/2 of the condensed milk gelatin mixture over the top and refrigerate until completely firm, about 30 minutes. 

At this point, if you’d like the finished mold to be more colorful you can add food coloring to the remaining batches of gelatin. I tinted the bottom layer of the pictured mold with a tiny bit of orange.

Pour a layer of the cranberry gelatin over the chilled condensed milk gelatin and refrigerate until firm. Finish with the last layer of condensed milk gelatin and chill until completely firm, 4 hours or overnight. If the remaining gelatin hardens in between these steps you can very gently warm it over low heat. Do not boil it or it will not set.

To unmold, dip the gelatin mold in warm water for about 10 seconds. Place a serving platter over the top and invert. The gelatin should gently fall onto the plate. If it doesn’t quickly dip it in warm water again. Slice and serve!