One of my fondest Christmas memories is from the first Christmas after our father passed away. The whole family headed down to Florida to spend time at our grandmother’s house. While we were there, Schnookie and I decided to make gingerbread cookies in hockey-appropriate shapes. We had players, Stanley Cups, even a very misshapen Conn Smythe trophy. I remember there was much giggling to be had. But for some reason, we never made this a yearly tradition. I guess one Conn Smythe Christmas cookie is enough for one lifetime. Anyway, last year I decided, “I want gingerbread cookies, danggit!” As far as I knew no one else even liked eating them, and I knew no one wanted to decorate them, but I wanted a plate full of gingerbread cookies and that was enough. I found a nice-looking recipe in The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball, and away I went.
The recipe was super easy, and super fun, and I had a blast rolling out the dough. But then I got to the cutting part and realized the only cutters in the house were circles of various sizes. Well, that’s boring! I ended up using a 2″ circle, and tried to convince myself it was festive because it was the shape of a traditional ball ornament. Bo-ring! Still, they were delicious and insanely Christmas-y. They got better with every day they sat, and they made the perfect accompaniment to the MacGyver marathon that filled the hockey-less 25th. There was much giggling to be had.
This summer I went on a cookie cutter buying binge, because as Santa is my witness, I would not go another Christmas with boring old circular gingerbread cookies! When yesterday afternoon rolled around, I decided it was time to make the kitchen smell like ginger, cloves, and nutmeg, and it was time for cake dome to be filled with cookies shaped like reindeer and trees and angels and bells.
Of all the new cutters, I think I like the angels and reindeer the best, because they remind me of the 12-months of cutters set I used as a kid.
One thing I learned from making the cookies last year is that they taste better with sprinkles. But I’m super-duper lazy about decorating them. As you can tell from these finished products.
I think the plan now is to try them again, but this time, to frost them and then apply the sprinkle to the frosting, so they might stick more, er, attractively. Until then, I’m happy with my ridiculously half-assed be-sprinkled cookies, because at least they’re shaped like mittens and presents and snowmen and candy canes, and because there was much giggling to be had over how half-assed they look. Although, oddly enough, no Conn Smythes. I should remedy that next time.
Recipe from The Dessert Bible
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
8 tbl spoons (1 stick) butter, softened but still firm
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and set aside. Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add molasses and beat for another 30 seconds. Add egg and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredient mixture on low speed until just combined.
Divide dough in half and shape into 8 inch disks. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into fun and festive shapes! Transfer to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for about 7 minutes. The cookies overbake quickly, so keep an eye on the. Kimball says they should still be soft when you take them out of the cookie, because they will harden as they cool. Revel in the fact that your kitchen smells as Christmasy as a tree lot!
Posted by Pookie