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Swedish Frosted Pepparkakor

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 Tbsp molasses
1 egg
2 Tbsp water or milk
3 1/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves

3/4 cup water
1 envelope (1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder (not a mistake)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In large bowl, beat sugar, margarine, and molasses until light and
fluffy. Add egg and water, blend well. Stir in flour, soda, salt,
spices; mix well to form a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap;
refrigerate 1 hour (minimum) for easier handling.

Heat oven to 350 deg F. On floured surface, roll 1/3 dough at a
time to 1/8 inch thickness. Keep remaining dough refrigerated.
Cut with floured 2-1/2 inch cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased
cookie sheets. Bake at 350 deg F for 9-11 minutes or until set.
Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool completely. Makes
8-10 dozen thin cookies. Traditional Swedish cookie shapes are
hearts, gingerbread folks, pigs, horses, or roosters.

NOTE: The dough rolls easily and can be very trying when it's as
thin as it should be. Working quickly with small amounts (keeping
remainder refrigerated) is helpful. Rolling it on a chilled marble
slab was helpful, too.

In 2-quart saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water and gelatin. Let stand
5 minutes to soften gelatin. Stir in 3/4 cup granulated sugar,
bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in
powdered sugar, beat until foamy. (I dumped the gel/sugar mixture
into my KA mixing bowl before adding the powdered sugar.) Stir in
baking power and vanilla; beat at highest speed until thick, about
10 minutes. Spread frosting on cooled cookies or pipe frosting
following outline of cookies. Allow frosting to set for several
hours before storing. Ample frosting for outlining 10 dozen cookies.

NOTE: Frosting is similar in consistency to royal icing -- or
marshmallow creme. If it becomes difficult to pipe with pastry
bag, put the filled bag in the microwave oven for about 10 seconds,
squoosh the icing around a bit and keep on going!

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