Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dallas Bakeoff: Katherine's Frosted Gingerbread Hat Cookies

This recipe also appears this week on Dallas Decoder, representing Katherine Wentworth in the Dallas Decoder Holiday Bakeoff IV: Pam vs. Katherine.

All she wanted was Bobby. Sure, he married her half-sister Pam (twice) and April, and almost married that dreadful Jenna, but Katherine knows deep in her heart that Bobby loved her best.

She baked these frosted gingerbread hat cookies to remind him of her bold sense of style. Katherine wears a good hat like no other woman on Dallas. The cookies are spicy and sweet, just like Katherine, and way better than Pam's emerald mine cookies, which sound like something that would chip a tooth.

Pam claims her cookies were inspired by a particularly vivid dream in which she invested in an emerald mine after Bobby's death because he'd been interested in emeralds. Can you imagine? Bobby was never interested in emeralds. And Bobby's death?! Need we more proof that sweet darling Pam is absolutely bonkers? Keep dreamin' Pam!

Katherine's Frosted Gingerbread Hat Cookies
Gingerbread recipe adapted from Gingerbread Cookies 101, The Food Network, from a Rick Rodgers recipe

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

12 3/4 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly milled black pepper
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
Simple cookie icing (see recipe below)
Red and green food coloring
Red and green gumdrops

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

2. Combine butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the molasses and egg. Add the combined dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined to form the dough. Divide the dough into two pieces, flatten into large discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 hours to chill completely.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F with two racks evenly spaced in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Line three baking sheets with parchment or silicon baking mats (you can re-use one of the sheets if needed, unless you have an oven big enough to accommodate three baking sheets at once).

4. Place one of the dough discs on a floured surface and allow to warm slightly (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out circles of dough; transfer the circles to the baking sheet, spaced at least 1-inch apart. Re-roll any scraps and cut out additional circles. Repeat with the other chilled dough disc.

5. Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly browned and the dough looks dry on top, about 10-12 minutes (rotate the cookie sheets top-to-bottom and back-to-front halfway through baking). Cool the cookies on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then carefully transfer with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely (cookies must be completely cooled before frosting).

6. Divide the cookie icing into several bowls, depending on how many colors of hats you want to make (it may depend on what colors of gum drops you have--I made red, green and white hats). Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl and stir into the icing, adding additional drops as needed until the color of the frosting matches the gumdrops. Using a knife, spread about 1 teaspoon of frosting (maybe a little more) on each gingerbread circle, using the knife to spread an even layer so that the brown of the cookie does not show through and the icing goes to the edge of the circle. Place a matching-color gumdrop in the center of the circle and press down gently. Sprinkle the cookie with matching colored sugar (this helps give the cookie an even texture, since the gumdrop will have a sugar-coated texture, whereas the icing, without sprinkled sugar, will dry smooth). Continue as desired (I frosted some cookies without gumdrops and also left some unfrosted). Store cookies in the refrigerator.

Simple Cookie Icing

3 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. milk, plus additional as needed

Combine powdered sugar, corn syrup and milk in medium bowl and stir with a fork until they form an even consistency. Add additional milk (in small increments, about 1 tsp.) as needed to reach a smooth texture similar to thick sour cream. Use immediately, as the icing will harden as it sits out. Multiply the recipe as needed so you enough icing for your cookies.

Dallas Bakeoff: Pam's Emerald Mine Cookies

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