Fruit-Studded Gingerbread Stars

gingerbread star cookies

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius

The holiday season isn’t complete without a little gingerbread. This year I decided to liven up my version with the delicious candied oranges and lemons I have become quite addicted to this year. Throw some dried cherries into the cookie dough for another twist, and you have these fruit-studded gingerbread stars.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup molasses
1 egg
½ cup diced dried cherries
Candied slices from 1 orange
Candied slices from 1 lemon

Makes about 3 dozen 3 ½-inch stars

fruit-studded-gingerbread-stars-thirsty-radishThese cookies capture winter through candied fruit, dried cherries, and spices. The scents remind me of the oranges my mother would stud with cloves each Christmas. Citrus and spice, prepared with love.

While you can purchase candied fruit at the market, I recommend making your own, as candied citrus and the syrup it yields have so many uses. Last week I shared a winter margarita recipe that uses deliciously sweet, orange syrup, and you can also find my method for making candied fruit slices there.

For the cookie dough, begin by combining the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg, and beat well. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the dried cherries.

Shape the dough into 2 flattened discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours. While the dough is chilling, cut the candied orange and lemon slices into small pieces. I prefer to leave some of the fruit flesh attached to each piece, rather than using just the citrus peel.

Once the dough is chilled, remove one of the discs. Roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out star shapes and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Use the orange and lemon pieces to stud the top of each cookie.

If the dough becomes too soft to easily cut out shapes, return it to the refrigerator. Use all of the cookie dough, gathering and re-rolling it as necessary.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire racks.

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