I have been saving these flora & fauna cookie cutters for a special baking occasion. The 2014 Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap seems like such a moment in this holiday season. Started by fellow bloggers at Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen a few years ago, this very worthwhile fundraiser for Cookies For Kid’s Cancer is always a lot of fun to participate in and if you did not have time this year try to make time in 2015.
My cookies combine dark cocoa, Nashville’s own Olive & Sinclair Cinnamon Chili Mexican Style Chocolate along with gingerbread spices & local molasses. The dough cut into forest animals, acorns & leaves lightly decorated with a simple icing is perhaps all you need, along with world peace & love to make this one nice holiday season one chocolate-gingerbread bite at a time.
Olive & Sinclair has shown up in quite a few desserts here at food on fifth. This one is my favorite for cookies…cinnamon & chili.
Round cookies? Square? Shapes for sure. Some vintage, some new cutters.
Upon my doorstep one day there appeared a package from OXO and inside was what really turned out to save the day when it came to icing my cookies….Like magic a set of OXO Good Grips Baker’s Silicone Decorating Bottle Kit appeared just when I needed to ice these cookies. Thanks OXO elves!
Royal icing, my new OXO icing tool and some sanding sugar made this part effortless.
While the icing dried I put together a few tags, my business card……
…stamped the tins with Holiday images, checked to make sure the tags worked…..
..nestled the cookies for a safe trip out into the big, wide world……
….tins packed…boxes stamped….Happy Holidays all you other Cookie Swapper’s out there.
A big thanks to my three fellow bloggers that I received delicious cookies from…Kristin at kesaling.com (sorry your site is not coming up so I could not do a link!…Amanda at amandakbythebay.blogspot.com and Renee at marriedandhungryblog.blogspot.com…Santa is going to love your cookies as much as I do!
Happy December, Be Sweet and Kind and Bake more cookies to share!
Chocolate-Gingerbread Flora & Fauna Cookies
- For Gingerbread spice – 1 tbsp ground ginger; 2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves, mixed together in a small bowl
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp soft unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 3 ozs baking chocolate (of your choice) melted & cooled to room temp
- For Royal Icing – 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar; 1 egg white; 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Sanding Sugar/Decorating Sugar in Clear or White or Silver
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the gingerbread spice mix, cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle, beat together the butter & vegetable shortening.
- Add the brown sugar & beat until fluffy and light.
- Add the egg & beat until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Lastly beat in the molasses and melted chocolate. Beat for about 2 minutes until ingredients are very well mixed.
- Add the flour mixture in batches until well incorporated, beating to form a dough.
- Scrape dough from mixer bowl, divide into 3 balls, flatten into disks, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour before using.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Working with one cookie dough disk at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes & place on parchment lined pans. Gather up any dough scraps and re-roll and cut out more cookies until all of the dough is used. Work in batches, rolling out next disk of dough while others are baking.
- Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes, or until cookies are slightly puffy and dry on top. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on pan for a few minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before icing. Repeat process until all dough is baked.
- For icing whisk together the powdered sugar, egg white & lemon juice until smooth. Put icing in an icing bag with a small tip or other icing tool, such as the OXO one I used. Set aside until cookies are completely cooled.
- Decorate cooled chocolate-gingerbread cookies with icing. Sprinkle with some sanding sugar to add a bit of Holiday glitter.Icing will harden in a few minutes. Eat, Share, Send, Make More!
Notes: These cookies are terrific dipped in hot coffee or alongside a cup of tea. Kids love the animal shapes.
Animal Cookie Cutters from IKEA, Trees, Acorns & Leaves various Antique Malls during the year.
OXO Icing Tool (randomly arrived at my house unsolicited but it turned out I needed such a thing so I am saying I like it with no money having changed hands! Available online I suppose.
Glitter Christmas Houses from All Seasons right here in Nashville. Every year I buy a few to add to my village!
White tins and packing boxes from The Container Store.