I love gingerbread cookies, but my grandchildren don't like the ginger flavor. Now I use chocolate and watch them smile as they take that first bite. —Nancy Murphy, Oneonta, New York
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup baking cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
- 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with floured 3-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high 1-2 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Keep unused icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
- Using pastry bags and small round tips, decorate cookies as desired. Let stand at room temperature until frosting is dry and firm.
- Freeze option: Freeze cookies, layered between waxed paper, in freezer containers. To use, thaw before serving. Yield: about 5 dozen.
Originally published as Chocolate Cutout Cookies in Cookies & Candies Bookazine 2015, p12
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