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Gingerbread cookies a fun family project

Recipe starts with refrigerated cookie dough

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When I picked up my granddaughter from school Friday afternoon, it was dreary and raining. I asked her if she wanted to finish up some Christmas shopping or go home and make some cookies.

I was very happy that she chose my warm, dry kitchen and some fragrant gingerbread cookie dough.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had mixed up the cookie dough, patted it into two discs and put it in the refrigerator to chill. All we needed to do was roll out the dough and cut out the cookies, then bake. After a quick dip in some white chocolate, and the cookies would be done.

The recipe is a new one to me. This month, I’ve been receiving lots of emails from Pillsbury with cookies and other treats to make for Christmas. Gingerbread cookie stars was one of the featured recipes.

These gingerbread cookies start with refrigerated sugar cookie dough. I’ve been intrigued with the method for making these cookies and a few others and was eager to give it a try.

The sugar cookie dough is “doctored” with molasses, flour and spices and combined into a smooth, dough.

After the dough is chilled, it’s very easy to roll it out for cutting cookies. In the past, I’ve sometimes fussed, cried, given up and thrown away cookie dough because I couldn’t get it to roll out without tearing or getting stuck on the rolling pin. That wasn’t the case here.

Although the cookies are named gingerbread stars, Sora used a variety of cookie cutters, including miniature gingerbread girls and angels. She even pulled out some cookie cutters I had when I was a little girl.

Sora is 11 and was able to do this by herself with very little supervision, which was so nice. In fact, I started cooking supper and left her to cutting out cookies and then dipping them in the chocolate.

As soon as these cookies started to cook, my house started smelling like Christmas, and we couldn’t wait to try them.

When the cookies had cooled enough, Sora dipped the tips of the stars into the melted white chocolate chips. I helped with a few because it was fun. The gingerbread girls got a little chocolate glaze as well, almost like a ruffle on their little skirts. The gingerbread boys got white boots.

We were so pleased with the results. The cookies are delicious. I especially loved the white chocolate on the gingerbread. It’s a delicious combination, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I used the some leftover white chocolate as a dip for my cookies, and yes, I double-dipped!

RECIPE TIPS

• Although the recipe instructions say to use your hands to mix up the cookie dough, I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer. It worked perfectly.

• Don’t skip the step of refrigerating the gingerbread cookie dough for a few hours. It was so easy to work with once it was chilled. I did sprinkle a little flour on the work surface before we started rolling out the dough so it wouldn’t stick to the rolling pin.

• I made a second batch of cookies Sunday night for my husband’s co-workers. I let the dough chill overnight. It was too cold to work with at first, so I left it out a few minutes before I started to roll it.

• I didn’t want to pull out my pastry sheet that was rolled up under a stack of Pyrex dishes, so we cut a large piece of waxed paper and rolled the cookies on that.

• We had to re-warm the chocolate twice. Just microwave again for 15 seconds, and it will be ready for dipping.

• Next time I make these cookies, I will make sure I have some pretzels on hand. I really, really wanted to dip up some of that white chocolate on a salty pretzel.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001. Her column includes recipes she and her family enjoy.

Gingerbread Stars

This is a great recipe to do with your kids. The cookies are easy to cut and decorate, and they taste so good.

1 roll (16.5 oz) refrigerated sugar cookies

3 tablespoons mild molasses (I just used a jar of basic molasses)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup white vanilla baking chips

1 tablespoon shortening

In large bowl, break up cookie dough; stir in molasses. Add flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves; mix thoroughly with hands until well blended. (I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer for this.) Divide dough in half; shape into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On floured surface, using rolling pin, roll 1 dough disk 1/4-inch thick, adding additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. With floured 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out stars. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cutouts 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set and light golden brown. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

In small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips and shortening uncovered on high 30 to 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted. Dip half of each cookie into vanilla coating, allowing excess to drip off. Place cookies on waxed paper or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let stand about 30 minutes or until coating is set.

Pillsbury

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