2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and pepper in bowl; mix well.
Combine sugar and 3/4 cup butter in another bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg yolk, molasses and orange juice; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well mixed.
Divide dough in half; wrap each in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Roll out dough, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 1 3/4- and 3 1/2-inch tree-shaped cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and orange zest in bowl. Beat at low speed, gradually adding enough orange juice for desired frosting consistency.
Place frosting in small resealable plastic food bag. Snip 1/8-inch off 1 corner. Pipe frosting onto 1 large tree in zig-zag design. Immediately place 1 small tree on top of frosting. Repeat with remaining cookies.
- Adding a tiny bit of pepper to sweets can often spark flavor. Here, pepper complements the other spices and offsets the sugar without adding any perceived heat. Unlike many spice cookies, these crisp trees have just a hint of molasses and subtle flavoring, plus creamy orange frosting to hold them together.
- Remember when removing rind from citrus fruits to only grate colored portion. Avoid inner, white section that is bitter.
- Sandwich cookies can be made with any leftover small tree cookies and frosting.