By Food & Wine
Top Chef season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga's sweet, candied-ginger dough can be rolled out and cut into any shape or formed into logs and refrigerated for simple slice-and-bake cookies. Beautiful Holiday Cookies
© John Kernick Ginger-Studded Sugar Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Royal Icing, colored sugars and silver dragées, for decoration (optional)
1. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the flour and salt at low speed until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, ginger, vanilla and orange zest and beat at low speed until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, roll out the dough a scant 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out shapes as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 14 to 18 minutes depending on their size. Transfer to a rack to cool. Meanwhile, refrigerate the scraps until chilled, then reroll, stamp out more cookies and bake.
3. Decorate the cookies with Royal Icing, colored sugars and silver dragées.
Make Ahead The baked, undecorated cookies can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. The decorated cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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