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25 Days of Cookies: Tulsa chef spruced up tree with gingerbread cookies

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Our next cookie recipe comes from Neda, who cooks creatively delicious food for the residents of Hudson Villas, a permanent housing solution that is associated with the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. A graduate of OSU-IT, she tells the story of these gingerbread cookies.

“I have a special place in my heart for these cookies, because the last time I did them was December 2011, the Christmas before I graduated from OSU-IT.

The baking classes were not doing the gingerbread house that year for some reason, and there was a really naked looking tree that had been placed in the lobby by the State Room with a few colored satin balls and lights, so I decided to do something about it. I made sugar cookie dough and gingerbread cookie dough, cut, iced, and decorated a bunch of cookies with the help of my daughter, and we had a blast decorating that tree. I have many warm memories of the togetherness and Christmas spirit that came out of that project!"

Gingerbread People
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses (To prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.)

Directions

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

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart.

Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate your cookies using royal icing and desired trims, gel colorings, etc. and have some fun!

Royal Icing:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Directions

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Tint portions of frosting with desired food color. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

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