No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies! The gaudier the better, so let the kids' imaginations run wild with endless candy and colour combinations. Reserve some of the icing to use for decorating, and pipe stripes and patterns onto the sweaters, if desired.
- Prep time 1 hour & 30 minutes
- Total time 6 hours
In large bowl, beat butter with granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, fancy molasses and cooking molasses until combined. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt; stir into butter mixture in 2 additions just until combined. If necessary, knead gently to form smooth dough. Divide dough in half; shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 48 hours.)
Let dough stand at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes. Between waxed paper or on lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Using 5-inch (12 cm) gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out shapes, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange, 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 325°F (160°C) oven until firm, about 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 1 minute; transfer directly to racks to cool completely.
While cookies are cooling, in large bowl, beat meringue powder with 1/2 cup water until foamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in icing sugar until stiff and glossy, about 9 minutes. Divide icing among 2 to 4 small bowls (you'll need 1 bowl for each colour of icing).
Using food colouring, tint each bowl of icing to desired shade. Working with 1 colour at a time, spoon icing into piping bag fitted with small plain tip; pipe outlines onto cookies to create sweater shapes. Let stand until dry, about 30 minutes.
Gradually add water, 1/4 tsp at a time, to remaining icings until mixtures are consistency of molasses. Working with 1 cookie at a time, spoon icings onto centres of outlines; using toothpick or skewer, spread to piped edges, popping any air bubbles. Decorate with candies and decorating sugar (if using). Let stand until dry, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.)
Tip from The Test Kitchen: Find assorted holiday-themed candies to adorn your sweater creations at your local bulk food store.
Makes about 16 cookies.
Nutritional facts per cookie: about
- Fibre 1 g
- Sodium 86 mg
- Sugars 46 g
- Protein 4 g
- Calories 328.0
- Total fat 6 g
- Potassium 219 mg
- Cholesterol 25 mg
- Saturated fat 4 g
- Total carbohydrate 66 g
- Iron 14.0
- Folate 15.0
- Calcium 4.0
- Vitamin A 5.0