So I decided I ought to share my recipes so you can make your own cookies -since I'm giving out ponies from now on.
First, the equipment. I bought a set of snowflake cutters here. ;a good rolling pin; a good mixer (-I recommend a Bosch since I burned out my Epicurean Kitchenaid twice before I gave up and switched over), cake decorating tips and bags (you need a #2 size, and maybe a six, or a flat one -like a 101) three cookie sheets; powdered sugar (try to get C&H --when I get the bargain brand I regret it when I taste it), meringue powder, lemon juice,chocolate sprinkles (Guittard are the best. I eat them by the handful when I'm feeling weak -made of real chocolate; White non-pareils (I should have ordered them there -I forgot to and looked in Funfinity --they usually have them, but DIDN'T this year), sanding sugar, and blue food color (this is me --I like the light blue with the chocolate sprinkles).
OK, here goes: the recipes. for the cookies I use a version of Mrs. Field's but add a little more spice.
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 T. ground cinnamon (I buy the cheap cinnamon though, maybe that's why Mrs. Fields only uses a t.)
3 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. ground cloves (I really do about 1/2 t. --but try this first, since I really like it spicy)
Mix all of this together in a bowl. In your Bosch add:
1 cup softened, salted butter
3/4 cup DARK brown sugar (packed)
Cream it together. Add:
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses.
Add your dry ingredients, and mix just until moistened.
There's your dough. Now do that twelve times if you're me :). Roll out using more flour if needed, to 1/3 an inch, cut out, and bake at 350 for 8 minutes. check them, and if they still look wet, put them in for another minute or two, but they should be really soft when you pull them out --and NOT browner around the edges. If you're fast enough, you can roll and cut out a pan's worth in 5 minutes, and then rotate three pans around between the racks of your ovens and the counter.
For the drawing icing:
1/4 cup meringue podwer
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup lemon juice
beat together in a bowl (with your Bosch --see how handy they are?) until soft peaks form --just like egg white soft peaks, and add:
1 lb. powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until medium to stiff peaks form. I really like a lemony-icing on gingerbread, but if you don't, you can use all water.
For the flood icing:
Take 1 cup of the icing you just made, and add 2 T. water, 6-8 drops blue food color, and 2 T. corn syrup (hence the glossiness), and mix together well. You might add half of the water and half of the syrup first and see if you have the right consistency (draw a knife through the icing, and if it comes back together between 7 and 10 seconds. If it takes longer, and more water/syrup, if it's too fast, add more powdered sugar).
For both of your icings, keep them covered with plastic wrap right up against the icing, and in the fridge. If it dries out even a little around the edges, those edges can get into your decorating tip and cause you to curse and run around breaking things.
Use your drawing icing in your decorating bag with a #2 tip for making outlines of the things you want to "flood" or fill in. Do these first, as they need to dry before you can flood. You can also do the snowflakes you want to just draw on at this time, and then dip them in sanding sugar, nonpareils, or sprinkles right away before the icing dries. Just fill a saucer with your topping, and turn the cookie upside down in it. Sprinkling on top DOESN'T work. Brush off excess.
Outlined, and then not flooded --design instead.
When your outlines dry, you can fill in with your "flood". Use the #6 or #101 tip, and fill in the outlines, using the tip to spread it around. Don't do too much in there, or it will spill over the sides. Let it dry all of the way --it takes a while-- then you can do another design on top if you want. I love the look of a chocolate sprinkle design on top of the blue.
Flooded without design.
Flooded and design on top with sanding sugar.
For design ideas, I use these books:
Or look at this blog (but you're really not allowed to compare my skill with this lady's. She's amazing).
Good Luck! (And bring me a few while you're at it.)