Thursday, December 02, 2010

Holiday Recipe: White House Gingerbread Cookies, For Eating And Ornaments

The First Lady, Yosses, and a cookie lover
A traditional holiday treat  from Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses...
The White House - First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 23 excited kids from military families for a State Dining Room arts n' crafts session on Wednesday as she unveiled her holiday decor.  Joined by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and other members of the kitchen staff, Mrs. Obama and the kids decorated traditional gingerbread cookies.  Yosses' cookie recipe is below.

It is designed for both eating and ornament making; Christmas trees all over the White House are laden with gingerbread ornaments this year, in homage to Mrs. Obama's "Simple Gifts" holiday theme.  The cookies will indeed make lovely gifts for family and friends, whether baked soft for eating or longer to harden for ornaments.   

>Click here for all the details about the White House Gingerbread House 
Yosses' recipe makes 50 four-inch cookies, but obviously, if larger cookies are cut, there will be fewer.  The recipe calls for an electric mixer, but for home cooks seeking arms as nice as Mrs. Obama's, the mixing can be done by hand, for an achingly thorough workout. 

The dough must be refrigerated overnight, so anyone looking for a "rapid recipe" to do with the kids needs to plan ahead.  Yosses' recipe for Royal Icing to frost the cookies is included, too, for lovely decorating.  

Check out Yosses' recipe for Holiday Apple Cake with Maple Glaze, another creation for the 2010 holidays, and check the site sidebar for all recipes.

Decorating the cookies
White House Holiday Gingerbread Cookies
with Royal Icing

*8 Oz (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, soft

*2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar

*2 Eggs, large

*1 Cup Molasses

*7 Cups All-Purpose Flour

*1/4 Tsp Ginger, ground

*1/4 Tsp Cinnamon, ground

*1 Tsp Baking Soda

*1/4 Tsp Baking Powder

*1/4 Tsp Salt

*Lemon Zest from 1 lemon

*Orange Zest from 1 orange

1.  Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer for a minimum of 5 minutes.

2.   Add eggs one by one, then molasses.

3.  Put mixer on slow.  Sift spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda with flour, then add these dry ingredients in three increments, and scrape bowl each time an addition is made.

4.  Add zests and mix until incorporated, but do not over mix.

5.  Remove dough from bowl and place on plastic wrap and spread to 1" thickness over wrap, then cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

6.  Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out a small piece on a floured surface. This dough is very wet, so add flour when necessary to prevent sticking and turn over often.

7.  Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness for cookies.  Cut out gingerbread shapes.

8.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F for cookies; bake for 25 minutes or more for ornaments.  Be sure to preheat the oven before cooking.  If baking for ornaments, poke a hole in each cookie before baking, at a strategic location.

9.  Remove from oven after baking, and let cool on a wire rack before decorating, whether for ornaments or for eating.

10.  Decorate with Royal Icing.  Sprinkle on candy cane chips or holiday candies or chopped dried fruit to make a pattern.

Royal Icing

*2 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted

*1 Egg White

*1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1.  Mix with paddle attachment on electric blender (or by hand) for 5 minutes. 

2.  If icing is too thick, add more lemon juice or a little egg white to desired consistency.

3.  Dip individual cookies into the bowl of icing, or use a blade to spread it on, or put icing in a pastry bag and pipe it on.


Related: The recipe for 2010 White House Holiday Shrimp Cocktail is here. The recipe for White House Holiday Honey Cupcakes is here. The recipe for Holiday Gingerbread Cake is here. A video of the White House volunteers in action decorating the White House for the holidays is here.

*Top photo by Helena Bottemiller for Obama Foodorama; second by Lawrence Jackson/White House