These edible cookie containers fall into the "too pretty to eat" category. Each one can hold 3 or 4 cookie "lollipops." See the accompanying directions and templates for assembling and decorating.
You'll need a 7-inch stocking-shaped cookie cutter or the template we've provided; 1-to-2-inch round cutters; a handful of cake/cookie pop sticks, which are available at craft stores; luster dust and Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring, both of which are available through online purveyors or baking supply shops.
Make Ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated overnight or up to 2 days. Undecorated cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. The decorated cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Servings: 2 seven-inch stockings and at least 9 small cookie lollipops
- For the cookies
- 5 cups flour, plus more for rolling and cutting the dough
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 2 large eggs
- For the royal icing
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 4 cups), sifted
- 1/4 cup meringue powder
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- Gel or paste food coloring, for decorating (see headnote)
- Luster dust, for decorating (see headnote)
For the cookies: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cloves and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Combine the shortening and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed until well blended, then add the molasses and eggs, beating until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Gradually add the flour mixture (on low speed) to form a sticky dough. Divide into quarters; shape each one into a flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Lightly dust each disk of dough with flour and place it between sheets of wax paper. Roll to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Lift off and reserve the top layer of wax paper. Dip the stocking cookie cutter in flour and cut out 8 stocking shapes in the dough, peeling away the excess dough. Use a sharp knife to score U-shaped channels in 4 of the stocking shapes; this will help create the space for holding the cookie pops. (Cut off their loops.) Use the smaller round cutters to create round cookies that will be affixed to sticks. Arrange the stockings and other cutouts on the baking sheets. Freeze for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is firm but not frozen.
Position racks in the upper and middle sections of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees.
Use a cookie/cake pop stick to make a slight indentation on the backs of half of the round cookies; the cookies can be baked with the sticks in place or not.
Bake the round cookies for 6 to 8 minutes and the stocking cookies for about 12 minutes or until the edges are light brown. Leave them on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. While the scored stocking shapes are warm, use a knife to retrace the U shapes; remove them.
Repeat to use all the dough.
For the icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, water and orange extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed to blend, then high speed for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. If you are not using the icing right away, place plastic wrap directly on its surface. To create different colors, transfer icing to small bowls and add gel or paste food coloring.
Adapted from recipes by Roxanne Roberts's mother and from cookbook author Julia Usher.
Tested by Roxanne Roberts.
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