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quinta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2010

Gingerbread Forest

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Prep time: 2 hours
Total time: 3 hrs 35 min (plus standing) 7 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dough
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
½  cup maple syrup
  1 3-D reindeer cookie cutter
  1 3-D sleigh cookie cutter Assorted (2-, 3- and 4-inch-high)
  tree cookie cutters
  other tree cutters
Decorating tips: One #11 and one #9 plain pastry tip with coupler to attach to decorating icing tube
2 tubes (4.25 oz each) chocolate decorating icing
Red mini M&M's, for reindeer noses
Confectioners' sugar, for snow

click picture to enlarge
· Whisk together 31/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of each spice in a medium bowl.
· Beat together 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg, 1/4 cup plus 2 table-spoons molasses and 1/4 cup syrup: beat mixture until combined well. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour
mixture, beating until just combined.
· Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough holds together. Divide and flatten into 2 (7-inch) disks. wrap each well in plastic wrap and chill until firm. about 1 hour. Meanwhile, repeat to make a second batch of dough.
· Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds.
· Working with 1 disk at a time (keeping remaining disks chilled). unwrap and let dough soften slightly. about 5 minutes. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick to make reindeer, sleigh and tree cutouts.
· For reindeer and sleigh: Dough must be precisely 1/4 inch thick. (If too thin. the reindeer won't stand up: if too thick, the parts won't fit together.)
Following the manufacturer's directions, cut out 8 reindeer and 1 sleigh. Press together dough scraps and flatten into a disk: wrap well in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 20 minutes. for additional cutouts.
· Transfer cutouts to 4 ungreased cookie sheets, arranging smaller and larger pieces in separate trays, placing 11/2 inches apart.
· Bake, 2 sheets at a time, switching sheets halfway through, until golden, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on size of cookies. Transfer cookies on sheets to racks and cool until firm, about 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.
· For trees: Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough (as above). Each assembled tree requires 2 identical cookies. Keeping that in mind, cut out 2 cookies (using the same cutter) for each tree. making a total of 32 cookies for 16 trees. Press together dough scraps and chill (as above), for additional cutouts.
· Cut trees in half and carefully transfer to 2 ungreased cookie sheets. placing 1 1/2 inches apart.
· Bake, switching cookie sheets halfway through, until pale golden. about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies on sheets to racks and cool until firm. about 2  minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.
· To assemble reindeer and sleigh: Attach the #11 pastry tip to icing tube and assemble cookies according to manufacturer's directions. Using icing, attach M&M's to reindeer noses.
· To assemble trees: Attach the #9 pastry tip to icing tube. Using 4 halves of 2 trees (cut from same cutter), squeeze a line of icing along trunk edge of  1 tree half. Align with trunk edge of matching half and press together. Squeeze another line of icing on edge of third half and attach to center:
· To assemble forest: Sprinkle a serving tray with confectioners' sugar. Dip tree edges in sugar. Arrange reindeer, sleigh and trees on tray. (Can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.)
Per 4-inch tree cookie: 345 calories, 8.5 g total fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 145 mg sodium, 65 g carbs, 41 mg calcium, 33 mg chol, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber

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