Iced Spice Cookies

Iced Spice Cookies
recipe adapted from Patti Paige, Creative Ideas for Living Jan/Feb '89
2/3 cup shortening (I use butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt (I only use 1)
1 large egg (from a happy hen if you can find one-mine aren't laying right now)
3/4 cup molasses
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Directions:
  • Cream together the first six ingredients. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Add the molasses and mix again. Set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to molasses mixture and mix until dough forms.
  • Divide the dough into two balls (flattened), wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least three hours. (I chilled it overnight) This dough is hard to work with unless it's chilled.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Roll out one ball of dough to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The original recipe calls for rolling the dough out between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper or a floured pastry cloth. I didn't have those so I just checked my dough frequently to make sure it wasn't sticking to my surface. (Flour is your friend, here.)
  • Cut out desired shapes. Gather scraps into a ball and put in the freezer while you repeat with the rest of your dough.
  • Transfer cookies to parchment covered (or greased) baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, making sure edges don't burn. Cool completely on a rack before frosting. (recipe below) For me this recipe made about 4 dozen small cookies.
Royal Icing
In a large bowl, mix together 1 pound of confectioners sugar, 3 tablespoons meringue powder (I used Wilton) and about 1/2 cup water. (Reserve a couple of spoonfuls of the water-wait and see if you need it. Royal frosting is kind of tricky in that it depends on the humidity as to exactly how much water you'll need.) Mix until soft peaks form. (I did mine about 8 minutes.) Use this "stiffer" frosting to outline your shapes in whatever colors you want. (I colored my frosting with gel food color and used a Wilton #3 tip to pipe the frosting around the edges.)
After the edges are set, thin the remaining frosting (a few drops of water at a time) to a pouring consistency. Use this thinner frosting to fill in your outline. You can put this thinned frosting in a freezer baggie with the corner cut off to drizzle onto the outlined cookie. Your set edges will keep the frosting where it should be.
For the hearts, wait for the cookie frosting to set (a couple of hours worked for me) and then decorate with royal frosting.
For the snowflakes and dinosaurs I filled in the base color first. While the frosting was still wet I piped on the details with a contrasting color of thinned frosting.The thinned frosting sort of "melts" into the background color. Let your frosted cookies dry overnight.