My Recipe Box

Gingersnap Snowflakes

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Yields about 24 cookies.

  • To learn more, read:
    Cookie Swap
  • by Daniella Caranci Verburg from Fine Cooking
    Issue 102

I wanted to capture the flavor of gingersnaps in a cookie that I could roll out and cut into festive shapes. Every Christmas, I make these with my niece and nephew, who love to cut them into snowflakes. After we bake them, I fill a couple of pastry bags with the icing and let the kids go to town.

For the cookies
  • 13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the decoration
  • 1/2 lb. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) confectioners' sugar
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. meringue powder
  • Blue food coloring
  • Edible silver dragées
Make the cookies

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, egg, and vanilla until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the dough in half, shape into two balls, and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it on a lightly floured piece of parchment until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Put the parchment and dough onto another cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut out cookies with a 5-inch snowflake cookie cutter. Remove excess dough from around the cutouts and transfer them with a spatula to the prepared sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. You can gather and reroll the scraps up to 2 times.

Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies begin to darken around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes.

Cool on the sheet on a rack for about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies directly to the rack and cool completely.

Decorate the cookies

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the confectioners’ sugar, meringue powder, and 1/4 cup cold water on low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the icing holds thick, soft peaks, 3 to 4 minutes. Test the icing’s consistency by piping a small amount through a piping bag fitted with a straight #2 tip. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water to the mixture in the bowl. If the icing seems too runny, add confectioners’ sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating on low speed to blend. Don’t over-beat, or the icing will stiffen and lose its gloss. Keep the icing covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use, and use the icing the same day it’s made.

Put about three-quarters of the icing in a clean 1-quart container. Put the remaining icing in a small container and tint with the blue food coloring. (Stir in coloring a bit at a time until the desired shade is reached.)

Put a small amount of the white icing in a piping bag fitted with a straight #2 tip and pipe the outline of the cookie.

Stir water, a few drops at a time, into the remaining white icing until the icing no longer stays peaked when piped but creates a smooth surface. To test, put a small amount in another piping bag with a #2 tip (the icing will drip, so have a cloth ready). Fill in the lines on each cookie, allow the icing to spread, and be careful not to overfill—use a small paintbrush to help spread the icing if necessary. Let the cookies air dry until the icing is set; 2 to 3 hours.

When the white icing is completely dry, put the blue icing in a clean piping bag fitted with a #2 tip and pipe branched lines connecting opposite tips of the snowflakes. Decorate with dragées while the blue icing is wet.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per cookie; Calories (kcal): 170; Fat (g): 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1; Carbohydrates (g): 34; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 125; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This wasn't the easiest cookie recipe but it was certainly worth it! I tend to prefer one-bowl, toss-it-all-in, type recipes with as few steps as possible but this was a lot of fun to make and they were a HUGE hit with family, neighbors, co-workers and especially the kids! I don't tend to ice my cookies but these were show-stoppers and so yummy. Not sure what the other reviewer did but the dough was perfect - not flaky at all. Highly recommend!

Family LOVED them and kept going back for more! Brought them into work, and my work loved them! The recipe ended up making 40+ cookies! I accidently doubled the icing recipe - I also made it with dried eggwhites (which lacks a few of the ingredients of Meringue. Took awhile for the "inner" layer of the icing to toughen up. I really don't know what the other reviewer did, but these cookies were not flaky. They came out very moist, and had quite the bite to them. I wasn't able to find a snowflake cookie cutter, so I instead did different xmas shapes, and iced them with different colours! They looked beautiful!

Very disappointing. Experienced cookie baker followed method exactly. Only substitution we did was using 1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder instead of ground cloves. Dough was way too flaky, dry and crumbly to roll out into cuttable shapes. However we salvaged the experience, turning it into a pat-into-pan crust for pumpkin pie, and that worked quite well. Flavor of dough was excellent though.

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