Spicy Ginger Houses

Black pepper is the secret ingredient in these holiday sugar-and-spice cookies.

Spicy Ginger Houses Enlarge Image
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Makes:
8 servings
Yields:
8 (6-inch) cookies
Prep:
50 mins
Chill:
4 hrs to 24 hrs
Bake:
8 mins to 10 mins 350°F
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Spicy Ginger Houses

Ingredients
3/4
cup packed brown sugar
2
tablespoons grated fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2
teaspoons finely ground black pepper
1/2
teaspoon baking soda
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg
1
egg
1/3
cup molasses
2 3/4
 
Red cinnamon candies or other small candies (optional)
1
recipe Royal Icing (see recipe below) or purchased decorator icing (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, ginger, pepper, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and molasses until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
  2. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours or until easy to handle.
  3. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper; set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 6x4-inch house-shaped cookie cutter, cut out dough. cut out small heart-shaped windows from houses if desired. Cut additional heart from scraps for decorations. Place house shapes on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart; place heart cutouts on a separate prepared cookie sheet because they may bake at a rate different from the heart shapes.
  5. Bake house shapes in a 350 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until tops of cookies appear dry (bake heart shapes about 8 minutes). Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
  6. When cookies are cool, decorate if desired with heart cutouts, candies, and icing, attaching candies and cutouts with the icing. Makes about 8 (6-inch) cookies.
  7. Royal Icing:
  8. In a medium mixing bowl combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 4 teaspoons meringue powder*. Add 3 tablespoons cold water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until mixture is combined; then beat on medium to high speed for 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture forms stiff peaks. (If mixture seems stiff while beating, add water, 1/2 teaspoons at a time. Icing should be fairly thick for piping. For a thinner glazing consistency, stir in a little more water after beating.) When not using, keep tightly covered to prevent it from drying out; keep refrigerated. Makes 2 cups.

From the Test Kitchen

Look for meringue powder at kitchen, cake-decorating, and crafts shops.

Nutrition Facts

(Spicy Ginger Houses)
    Per serving:
  • 404 kcal cal.,
  • 18 g fat
  • (11 g sat. fat,
  • 73 mg chol.,
  • 204 mg sodium,
  • 56 g carb.,
  • 2 g fiber,
  • 5 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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