Remember earlier this year, when I brought you some new recipes inspired by the McCormick Flavor Forecast? I presented things that packed a punch like spicy harissa and tamarind margaritas. Well, I’m pleased to be able to say that I’ve been asked to come back again to tell you about the 2013 Flavor Forecast. I have to say, it’s refreshing to work with McCormick. They honestly work quite hard on their recipe and flavor development, and it really shows. It’s not just about ground cinnamon and dried thyme with these guys; I’m talking flavor combinations like cider, sage, and molasses for a rustic, comforting pairing, or black rum, charred orange, and allspice, for a tropical getaway in the middle of a cold winter. Flipping through the forecast for 2013, I was definitely inspired. McCormick has developed five trends for global flavor in the coming year, which include the concept of empowered eating, meaning that they believe you can create healthy, highly personalized meals that fit your lifestyle without compromising taste. Another idea behind this year’s forecast is the hidden potential of what you’re making at home and being able to use every last part of each ingredient to create something delicious. My personal favorite trend, though, is the concept of ‘global my way’, which is to say that there are unlimited flavor possibilities, so it’s important to get out there, try new things, and find out what your favorite is. Just because someone says that one ingredient or another is the hot ticket item at the moment doesn’t mean it has to be yours – everyone is different, and everyone’s food is different! But that doesn’t mean it needs to be bland or boring. In summation, the Flavor Forecast as a whole is just a way to get people (myself included) to try some new combinations, break out of your comfort zone, and see how different cultures and flavors from throughout the world can come together to make the food we cook at home absolutely extraordinary. I know that you might not have any revelations while eating a cookie, but hey, let’s make that cookie as interesting as we can, and it’s the conversation that starts with your friends and family as we eat together that makes taking a little extra time in the kitchen worth it, right?
And what is more interesting than a Boba Fett shaped gingerbread cookie? That’s right. Nothing.
So, as I said, I was inspired by the 2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast and came up with these Orange Scented Gingerbread Cookies with an Apple Cider Glaze. I adore gingerbread, and it’s just the kind of cookie you want to eat this time of year. Warm, chewy, and inviting – there’s nothing that says “eat me!” as much as a gingerbread man or a beautifully decorated star, does there? It reminds you of when you were a kid, and the holidays to me as a kid always meant that there’d be good (and different) food around the house. I liked the idea of mixing in a little tropical flavor with my usual gingerbread, so I added the zest of a big, plump orange to this cookie dough, along with plenty of winter spice: cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, along with flavorful molasses and sweet honey. I happened to have a jug of apple cider in my fridge, too, so instead of the usual water and sugar glaze, I used the cider, which lent just a touch of acid, along with an irresistible apple-y aroma. These are not a hard, gingersnap like cookie. They are chewy, and soft, and I promise, a dream to roll out. The dough isn’t too sticky, and the cookies don’t spread out too much, making them perfect for cutting out into shapes and decorating. Do yourself a favor: check out McCormick’s 2013 Flavor Forecast, make these gingerbread cookies, and get into the holiday spirit!
Whisk together your flour, salt, and spices.
Once your dough is mixed together, chill it for a bit, then roll it out and cut into your favorite shapes.
Your favorite shapes may or may not be Darth Vader.
Most people would probably prefer snowflakes or something similar.
Once the cookies have cooled, dip them in your apple cider glaze and set aside to harden.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons McCormick ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons McCormick ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon McCormick ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup honey
- 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- Whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon ginger, allspice, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, beat together your brown sugar, butter, and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix until combined, then add in the molasses and honey, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add in the flour mixture, a bit at a time, until well combined. Divide the dough into two halves, mold gently into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour (or as long as overnight).
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out one ball of dough at a time to about ¼-inch or ⅓-inch thickness (the thicker the cookie, the chewier the cookie, obviously). Place your cut-out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until just set. I like mine to stay chewy, so I recommend pulling them out sooner rather than later. Roll out the rest of the dough, and do the same (and don't forget to collect the scraps to roll out for more cookies). Allow the cookies to cool completely before dipping in the glaze. Allow the glaze to set for about 1 hour before storing. These will keep well for up to 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature. They also ship well!
- Whisk together your powdered sugar and glaze until it is well combined. I like mine on the thinner side for just a hint of sweet icing, but you can make it as thick as you like (although the thicker it is, the less it will harden, so make it thinner if you plan to ship or store these).