The holidays are a wonderful time of year for many reasons, but cookies are easily in the top five.
At The DePaulia, we like to help you out, like showing you that in your tiny apartment kitchen you can make gingerbread cookies from scratch.
We — editor-in-chief, managing editor and design editor — tried our novice baker hands and three classic cookie recipes. The video above chronicles our feat and includes our ratings on difficulty, taste and appearance. Recipes we used are included below.
Happy holidays from The DePaulia!
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the cocoa powder, white sugar, and vegetable oil
2. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat in thoroughly.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into the chocolate mixture until just combined. Do not overbeat.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill the dough for four hours or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioner’s sugar in a wide bowl. Using a rounded teaspoon get clumps of the chilled dough and roll them into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sized balls using your hands. Roll the balls in the confectioner’s sugar and place on the cookie sheets (you should be able to get 12-16 on each sheet). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool a minute or two on the sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 orange, zested
The dry ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
The wet ingredients:
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 lemon, juiced
1. In a large bowl, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and mix until smooth
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5. When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.
6. Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet. A note about crowding the tray(s): these particular cookies can spread a little. Leave room between the cookies. Better to use 3 baking sheets with fewer cookies than to crowd them on 2 trays. Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Let cool, decorate as desired.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup fine/baking sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Whisk it and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat to combine.
4. Slowly add in the flour mixture spoon by spoon. Use a spatula to scrap down the flour on the side and bottom as needed. Make sure the mixture is well combined. The dough becomes crumbly but will hold together when pinched.
5. Using your hand, take out approximately 1 tablespoonful of the dough. Knead it on your palm with your fingers a few times and then roll into a 1″ ball. Place them on the baking sheet 2″ apart. Use your thumb and press a well in the center. Fill each well with 1/2 teaspoon jam.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to wire tray to cool completely before storing them in air tight container.