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Gingerbread heart houses

Gingerbread heart houses
Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times

The holidays can be an especially sweet time of year, particularly for those of us who love to bake. This is the season to have fun in the kitchen as we gather with parents, grandparents, children or friends, sharing memories ... Read more

Total time: About 1 hour, plus chilling time | Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on size
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups (14.6 ounces) unsifted flour
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Royal icing, for decorating
  • Sprinkles, for decorating

Step 1In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the molasses until combined, then the egg until fully incorporated.

Step 2In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and salt. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until fully combined. Wrap the dough tightly in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 30 minutes (the dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated until needed).

Step 3Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut out using desired cookie cutters. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing at least 1 inch apart.

Step 4Bake the cookies until they are firm and the edges begin to darken, 10 to 15 minutes (timing will vary depending on size).

Step 5Cool completely, then decorate as desired.

Note: Adapted from a recipe provided by Katie Rodgers. To make royal icing, beat 1 egg white (or 1 tablespoon pasteurized dried egg whites or meringue powder) with a pinch of cream of tartar and 1/3 pound sifted powdered sugar until combined and smooth, thinning as desired with warm water.


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