Gingerbread Tree Cookies with Glazed Pears

This two-part dessert -- warm brown-sugar-glazed pears and crisp ginger cookies -- is much easier than it appears, especially if you follow the make-ahead directions for the cookies.

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  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Bake: 5 mins to 9 mins 350°F
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Gingerbread Tree Cookies with Glazed Pears
Ingredients
1 1/2
3/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon ground ginger
1/2
teaspoon baking powder
1/2
teaspoon baking soda
1/3
cup butter (no substitute)
1/3
1
egg
1/2
cup boiling water
1/3
cup mild-flavored molasses
1/2
cup whipping cream
3
tablespoons powdered sugar
2
teaspoons Armagnac or apple brandy
6
firm ripe pears
2
tablespoons butter
1/3
cup packed brown sugar
1/3
cup caramel ice cream topping
Directions
  1. For Gingerbread Trees, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease eighteen 3-1/2x1/2-inch tree-shaped cookie molds or 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside. Stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
  2. In a bowl beat 1/3 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg; beat until combined.
  3. In a small bowl combine boiling water and molasses; add to brown sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture, beating until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling each half to two-thirds full (1 to 2 tablespoons batter).
  4. Bake about 5 minutes for tree molds or 9 minutes for muffin cups or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove from pans.
  5. In a chilled bowl combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, and Armagnac or apple brandy. Beat with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour.
  6. Peel pears, if desired. Cut 1/2 inch off stem end of each pear, leaving stems intact; set aside. Cut pears crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  7. In a very large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the 1/3 cup brown sugar. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Add pear slices and stem ends. Cover and cook over medium heat about 8 minutes or until pears are just tender. Remove pears from skillet.
  8. For each serving, stack pear slices into a bowl to form a pear shape. Place one Gingerbread Tree next to pear slices. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping over each pear. Top Gingerbread Tree with a dollop of Armagnac Whipped Cream. (Reserve remaining Gingerbread Trees for another time.) Makes 6 servings.
From the Test Kitchen

Prepare Gingerbread Trees; cool. Wrap in heavy foil, label, and freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts (Gingerbread Tree Cookies with Glazed Pears)
    Per serving:
  • 418 kcal cal.,
  • 16 g fat
  • (9 g sat. fat,
  • 58 mg chol.,
  • 185 mg sodium,
  • 70 g carb.,
  • 5 g fiber,
  • 2 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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