Perfect for munching at a Christmas Ball or hanging on a Christmas tree. Makes 4 to 6 dozen cookies, depending on size.
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. dark molasses
1 large egg
2 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. fresh ground nutmeg
Cream butter, shortening and sugar in mixer until fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Sift flour, soda, salt and spices in another bowl. Then combine with butter mixture in three parts, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be sticky.
Divide dough into four parts, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in the center. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or leave ungreased.
On a lightly floured board, roll one of the chilled balls to 1/4-inch thickness. Lightly dip a cookie cutter into flour and then press it striaght down into the dough. Cut cookies close together to avoid rerolling. Excess dough can be saved and rerolled once, but the cookies will be tougher.
With spatula, transfer each cookie to the baking sheet. If a cookie is to be hung on a tree, use a drinking straw to cut a hole through the top. You can add decorations of raisins and nonmelting candies before baking, pressing them into the dough.
Bake until cookies are set, 8 to 10 minutes. Let them rest on the sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
You may choose to decorate the cooled cookies with icing (recipe follows). If so, let the cookies dry on a wire rack until the icing is set, 20 to 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.
2 T. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
approx. 2 T. whipping cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract
food coloring (optional)
Beat the butter with mixer until creamy – gradually add the sugar. Blend in the cream and vanilla until icing is smooth and creamy. To thin, stir in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups.
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