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Gingerbread Christmas Cards

'Tis the season for mailing out Christmas cards and gift packages stuffed with homemade cookies. Why not save time and combine the two? Royal icing is the perfect backdrop for you to customize a delicious, heartfelt holiday greeting. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 2 hours + standing Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups molasses
  • 2 cups cold butter, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ROYAL ICING AND DECORATIONS:
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • Edible food writing pens, optional

Directions

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and molasses just to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Stir in eggs until blended. Combine the remaining dough ingredients; stir into brown sugar mixture. Divide dough into four portions. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll.
  • Preheat oven to 325°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 3x5-in. rectangle-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake until set, about 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • For icing, in a large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and water; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add additional water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Keep icing covered at all times with a damp cloth. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
  • Frost cookies and let dry completely. Decorate cookies as desired using edible writing pens.
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