Sunday, December 07, 2008
It's fun to make cookies with friends! Our friends Brad and Carrie came over this evening for supper (and Christmas pictures) and Carrie and I decided to make gingerbread for the kiddies.
I'm not a big gingerbread fan. I've made it before (because it's sounds like such a nice, Christmasy thing to do) and I've never cared for it much. However, I got the hankering this week to make some gingerbread men with the boys and let them decorate. So, I dug out my Southern Living cookbook and looked it up. As I was compiling ingredients, I noticed the recipe called for dark brown sugar (which I don't have, because I don't care for it) and molasses (bleah). I substituted light brown sugar (which I always have plenty of) for the dark brown and then I noticed I only had a tablespoon (or so) of molasses left. The recipe called for 2/3 cup, so I knew that I needed something to substitute. I used honey. And I loved it. They were the best gingerbread cookies ever! EVER, I say! Anyhoo, I decided to post the recipe so perhaps, if you didn't care for gingerbread, then you may try this one on for size. Two things: don't let the lemon juice scare you, it gives the cookies just a touch of tartness (but not too much), and if you don't have a gingerbread man cookie cutter, never fear! I don't have one either and balled up gingerbread dough and then used two balls for the head and belly and then divided two balls for the arms and legs. They turned out cute!
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Using a big bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Add eggs, molasses, honey, and lemon juice, beating well.
Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Gradually add remaining flour, beating after each addition. Shape dough into 2 balls. Cover and chill for about an hour.
Roll one portion of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Either use your cookie cutters to cut out cookies, or use the ball technique I referred to earlier. We only made 8 gingerbread men, and then we ball up the rest and did criss-cross designs on the front (like for peanut butter cookies) and then iced them with the white frosting after they were done. Bake at '350 degrees for 9 minutes.
Let cool, and then decorate with white frosting and candies.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup half and half (I used heavy whipping cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Comebine all ingredients in a bowl, beat a medium speed with an electric mixer until mixture is spreading consistency. Put in decorator bag with tip (or sandwich bag with corner snipped off) to pipe around the edges of the gingerbread.
The children had a great time and the kids (with their candy spread out all over the table- we used the frosting as a paste for the candy) were in heaven. And the hot, round ones straight from the oven with the frosting? Holy cow. They were good.
Give it a whirl!