The December issue of Better Homes and Gardens showcases an interesting twist on gingerbread with these Spicy Gingerbread Twig cookies!
The long, thin crispy twigs of spicy gingerbread are decked out with sparkling sugar to create a festive and tasty addition to any cocktail party. The spicy kick in these not too sweet cookies is the addition of cayenne pepper to the ginger and molasses dough.
I’ve found that these cookies are best served on the day they are baked so that they are crisp and stand upright. The cookies tend to get softer when they sit overnight. Serve these in a pretty glass or mug so that people can help themselves.
If you are looking for something a little different to serve at your holiday cocktail party then these Spicy Gingerbread Twigs are for you! Here is how you can make your own.
Spicy Gingerbread Twigs From Better Homes and Gardens Dec. 2012
2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/3 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/3 cup of mild or medium molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled
1/3 cup coarse clear or green sugar or turbinado sugar or
white or clear edible decorating glitter (optional)
1. Position a rack in the middle of oven; preheat to 350. Set aside 2 large baking sheets and four 15 inch pieces of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, cloves, allspice and cayenne until well blended. Thoroughly mash out sugar lumps with the back of a spoon.
3. In a small bowl whisk together butter, molasses, and coffee until well blended. Immediately, add butter mixture to flour mixture stirring vigorously, until evening incorporated.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface. Knead with your hands for 30 seconds to make it smoother. If dough is too dry and crumbly work in a few drops of water until it holds. If dough is too wet knead in 1-2 tbls of flour.
5. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion between two sheets of parchment paper in a 6x 12 inch rectangle. Peel off top parchment. Evenly sprinkle each rectangle with 3 tbsp of coarse sugar and about 1 tblsp of edible glitter if using (I used coarse sparkling sugar and gold edible glitter for mine). Lay parchment over top and gently press sugar into the dough. Remove top parchment.
6. Using a pizza cutter cut each rectangle into 1/4 to 1/3 inch strips. It’s okay to have uneven edges.
7. Working with one rectangle at time, bake for 13 minutes to 16 minutes or until just firm when the pressed in the center and browned at the edges. Immediately slide rectangle and parchment onto a cutting board. Quickly (before it cools and becomes brittle, retrace the cuts between the strips and cut of uneven edges. If necessary, return to the oven and warm until soft enough to work with.
Note: I didn’t trim the the tops of my cookies but kept them uneven to make them look a little more like twigs.
8. Reduce oven heat to 200. When rectangle is cool enough to handle, use your hands to gentle separate strips. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake additional ten minutes. These cookies are best when baked until crisp so that the twigs keep their shape and have a nice crunchy texture! Slide strips and parchment onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
These cookies are best served the day they are baked. If you need to store them until later, avoid storing crispy and soft cookies in the same container. Do not place in storage until the cookies are completely cool they’ll get soggy!