Orange Scented Gingerbread

Yields 24 cookies | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 8 minutes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup Lyle's Golden Cane Syrup
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Zest of one orange

Icing (optional):
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk

1. Spoon flour into measuring cup, then sift the flour into a bowl. Whisk in ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

2. Combine brown sugar and butter in a bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add cane syrup, molasses and applesauce; beat another minute or until combine.

3. Add flour mixture into the wet ingredients, a little at a time, until just combined.

4.  Fold/knead in orange zest. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350° F.

6. Divide dough in half (I typically knead each half in my hands to ensure the zest is evenly distributed.) Roll each portion out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to about an 1/8 inch thick.

7. Use your favorite cookie cutters to create cookies and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake 8 minutes. Once cooked, transfer immediately to a cooling rack and let cool if you plan on icing them.

For the icing:

8. Mix powdered sugar and milk together in a bowl. Should be thick enough to put in a piping bag with a small round decorating tip. Pipe onto completely cooled cookies and let dry before storing or wrapping.

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