Walking Off the Big Apple's Freestyle Iced Gingerbread Cookies

The image says it all. Rolling out dough for gingerbread cookies, I realized that the slab was nothing more than raw material for sculpture or a blank canvas on which I could apply paint. I looked at the cookie cutters on the counter and decided I didn't need them. It was time to get real.

It was time to get POP. So thinking about the most popular artist in the world, who is no longer with us, I pulled out a knife and started slicing through the dough. And then I thought, "What about my needs?," and so I made other shapes that spoke to my personal interests.

Decorating cookies is a fun artistic medium, especially with the edible gels and decorative frosting. The latter is nothing more than confectioners sugar, a little vanilla, a bit of beaten egg white, and food color. It's possible to make anything. I could bake an abstract expressionist collection, emphasizing the work of Franz Kline, or maybe just all Mark Rothkos. Those would be so beautiful. Or maybe I could do my own work and not be so derivative.

Anyone can do this. I used the recipes for both the gingerbread and the decorative frosting from The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne. The book is one of the best Southern cookbooks, in my opinion, because Claiborne was from the South. Watch out, though, for the trans fat. I also tried a recipe for a healthier gingerbread that used egg substitute and light molasses, and though I didn't care for it as much, the sugary frosting canceled out its weaknesses.

Image: (in random order) Shoe, bananas, famous artist, cowgirl boots, flowers, portrait of Chinese leader, walking man, squirrel. Edible gels and decorative frosting on gingerbread. 

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