Gingerbread cutters work if you're making skeletons. You can also use 2 1/2-inch cat or bat cutters. Look for meringue powder at craft stores or in the craft section of some big-box retailers.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
4.75 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon meringue powder
1 tablespoon 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
How to Make It
To prepare cookies, place the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and egg; beat until well blended.
Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours, cocoa, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated.
Place half of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap; roll to a 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Place dough (still wrapped in plastic wrap) on a baking sheet. Chill 45 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cut dough with a 2 1/2- to 3-inch cutter to form 40 cookies (reroll scraps as necessary). Arrange 20 cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (keep remaining cookies chilled). Bake at 375° for 9 minutes or until set. Cool on pan on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove cookies from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
To prepare icing, combine 1 tablespoon water and meringue powder in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Spoon icing into a small zip-top plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one bottom corner of bag; pipe designs on cookies.
I plan on making these again this year. They were a hit and turned out perfectly. This is a "sturdy" cookie as well. I wrapped them carefully and mailed to grandkids across the country. They arrived in perfect condition!
Made these as written and they came out totally charming and great chocolate taste! They were crumbly to work with as other reviewer stated. But as the scraps were re-rolled, it held together better and better. Maybe next time will knead a few times before cutting out. Was going to serve to adults, so wanted them to look professional - I went around all the edges with a knife to smooth out the little crumbs. I live in a warm climate, so kept the dough and raw cut-outs in the freezer as I was working. After a little practice with the frosting, they came out looking just like the photo. Made some draculas and phantom of the operas - cute! A very fun and creative project.
The dough is really dry and crumbly,due to the fat reduction, making it extremely difficult to cut shapes. This even after increasing the fat by 1/2 a cup. I will not make this recipe again. Actually if you add the extra fat and don't mind a bit of a hassle cutting these out they are super yummy, oh and sub all AP flour for the wheat!
These cookies are delicious! I did make some changes though. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup, threw in a handful of ground flax, and added the zest of half an orange to the dough. I made these into sandwich cookies, and for the filling I whipped together margarine, confectioners sugar and the zest from the other half of the orange. Quite possibly the best cookies I have ever made and I bake a lot!
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