Need suggestions for making gingerbread cookie ornaments
Anyone have any suggestions for how to best do this, i.e., what kind of "cookie" dough works best, decorative elements that will not fall off or smear or otherwise degrade? I've never done this before but would like to make them with my 11-year-old niece. Thanks!
If you don't plan to eat them you can make a playdough version with flour and dark molasses, heaping tablespoon of cinnamon and roll out using cutters and corn starch to prevent stickiness. Air dry.
We also mix applesauce and cinnamon to make a playdough and cut out stars for the tree. Air dry. Smells great.
Aunt Sally or Sally Ann cookies are much sturdier than standard ginger cookies but are still spice cookies--it has to do with the proportion of butter to flour. You can look up the recipe online. They can be made as slice-and-bakes or you can roll out the dough and use cookie cutters. The classic icing that goes with it is an unusual boiled icing that includes gelatin, which makes for a smooth, shiny, hard finished product--again, that is still edible. It takes color beautifully. The only trick is that you have to use it while it's warm. I make a half-batch at a time so that it doesn't harden in the bowl.
re: Erika L
This is the half recipe that I use:
1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 tsp gelatin (half an envelope)
1/2 c water
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix the sugar and gelatin, then add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Put the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Turn the mixer onto low and slowly pour in the hot sugar-gelatin-water mixture. After it's all incorporated, increase to high and beat 6 - 8 minutes, til it turns opaque and gets thicker (texture should be like honey). Add the vanilla. Use while warm.
This icing will form a beautiful smooth, shiny icing. I've never tried piping it but am guessing that it's too runny. You could put on a "base coat" and then use royal icing or even a stiff buttercream for piping, or skip the base coat and just go for the fancy stuff. I use colored sugar, sprinkles, etc. while the icing is warm and sticky.
Someplace, I have a recipe for cinnamon dough for ornaments. It is not edible--as I recall, it has cinnamon and applesauce. It is easy to work with, unlike lots of edible cookie doughs. I used puff paint (it is for fabric) to decorate. The ornaments last forever, and apparently smell like cinnamon forever--mine are 15 years old and still smell good when I open the ziplock I store them in.
Google--some recipes use elmer's glue instead of applesauce.