Stenciled Gingerbread Cookies
After all these years and thousands of holiday cookies, we still find stenciling to be one of the prettiest -- and easiest -- ways to decorate.
- 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon baking powder
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup unsulfured molasses
- Royal Icing
- Confectioners' sugar or luster dust (nycake.com)
Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl.
Beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Divide dough into thirds, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or nonstick baking mats. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies in desired shapes using cookie cutters, and transfer to baking sheets.
Bake until crisp, but not dark, about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.
Punch desired shape out of stiff paper (we used a thick envelope) using a craft punch. Hold stencil over 1 cookie, and brush a thin layer of icing over exposed surface using a small food-safe paintbrush. Holding stencil in place, gently sift confectioners' sugar over cookie through a fine sieve to evenly coat exposed surface. Lift stencil, and return cookie to wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let dry.