Blog Gingerbread Cookie Place Cards

Blog Gingerbread Cookie Place Cards

For eleven months of the year, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter may rule the cookie kingdom but come December, gingerbread reigns supreme. Why? Well, it has longevity on its side; people have been enjoying gingerbread for more than 500 years. It's also an international hit, considered a specialty in many countries—Germans eat lebkuchen, Swedes munch on pepparkakor, Poles prefer pierniki, and Russians and Brits bake their own versions. But what really makes gingerbread a classic is the irresistible combination of rich, mellow molasses with pungent spices. The delicious aroma of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven makes your kitchen a welcome place to be on a cold day.

This week's recipe keeps the spice varieties to a minimum—just a healthy dose of ginger, supported by aromatic cloves. And a somewhat surprising ingredient—tea—gives these cookies richness and a soft texture. This is not the gingerbread you want for building houses (we have another recipe suitable for that), but for eating warm from the oven with a glass of milk. Gingerbread cookies also make the perfect homey touch for a holiday dinner, especially when each guest finds a personalized cookie waiting at their spot at the table. Making cookie place cards is quite easy:

Choose any cookie cutter shape, as long as it has no large open spaces at the bottom; reindeer won't work well, but trees, ornaments, angels, mittens, and gingerbread man and gingerbread girls are all good choices. You can also use a mix of shapes—the length of your guests' names might determine which shapes you choose.

Bake the cookies but save a small amount of dough for the stands. Cut rectangles that are a bit shorter than the cookie shapes you are using, and about two-thirds as wide (so a 3-inch-tall rectangle would be about 2 inches wide), then cut each rectangle on the diagonal to make two triangles. Bake the triangles.

Decorate your cookies with royal icing (a perfect project to do with children) and let dry several hours to overnight. Pipe or spread some royal icing on the straight up-and-down side of one triangle (see the photo above) and, holding a cookie carefully by the edges or an unfrosted spot, affix the triangle to the back of the cookie. Set it gently on a cookie sheet and adjust it if necessary to make sure it is straight. The royal icing should hold the cookie in place while it dries; let dry without disturbing. Store in an airtight box until needed.

My favorite shapes for Gingerbread Cookies include the Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter, the Gingerbread Girl cookie cutter, and the Tree cookie cutter.