05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Gingerbread Christmas Tradition by Paty Jager

My favorite Christmas tradition started when my children were small. We made graham cracker gingerbread houses at Christmas time. The glue was frosting and the decorations were all kinds of fun holiday candies.

As they grew older, we all graduated to actual gingerbread houses using royal frosting. The kind made with egg whites and hardened. That way they could also be creative with the frosting as well as the candy decorations.

When they started leaving home and adding more  family members, I made Gingerbread people, decorating them like each family member and hanging them on the Christmas tree.  Most years I make a garland out of the cookies. I put a hole in the tops of the heads with a straw before baking them, then string colorful ribbon through and tie them to one long piece of ribbon making the garland. Other years I must put the colorful ribbon through the tops and hang them like ornaments on the tree. Doing this makes me feel like I have all my family with me at Christmas even when they aren't able to come home.

This is the gingerbread recipe I use from a McCall's magazine December 1996.
Gingerbread Cookies
1 TBSP ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp each; cardamom, baking powder
1/2 tsp each; ground cloves, nutmeg, salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 cup unsulfured molasses
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 TBSP cold water
4 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

      Combine ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Stir in butter, molasses, sugar, egg, and the water.
     Put flour into a large bowl; make a well in the center. Pour molasses mixture into the well. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. With floured hands, knead 5 or 6 times ( dough will be sticky) until smooth ball forms. Divide into 2 equal portions: shape each into 1/2-in.-thick disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate over night.
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.  Roll each dough disk 1/3 in. thick; cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake 7-10 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges.  Let cool on baking sheets on wire rack 3 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and frost when cool. Makes about 5 dozen 3 -in. cookies.


Judith Ashley said...

Family traditions are so important, especially when everyone can't be home for the holidays.

Does everyone eat their personalized gingerbread cookie on Christmas Day?

Paty Jager said...

No, the cookies aren't eaten on Christmas day. They are about a month old by then! I have to get busy and start making the ones for this year. We have some new additions.

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Great tradition! Thanks for sharing. :)

Diana Mcc. said...

What a lovely tradition, Paty! Thanks for the recipe.

Sarah Raplee said...

The gingerbread people are beautiful! Thank you for sharing the recipe and the idea for keeping family 'close.'

Paty Jager said...

Thanks for stopping in Genene, Diana, and Sarah!

Darlene Panzera said...

Thanks for the recipe! I string gingerbread garlands around the house but I love how you wrote the names of each person on the gingerbread people! Cute idea!

Jen the angel said...

What a beautiful family tradition.. Praying your children keep this tradition up when they have chikdten

Jen the angel said...

What a beautiful family tradition.. Praying your children keep this tradition up when they have chikdten

squiresj said...

Love family traditions. My Mom always loved her Mother's divinity but no one could make it. I married and moved to Arizona. I found a fail proof recipe in Family Circle - still have article. I make it every year and ship it to my family. That is all they ever wanted. Now my oldest lives 12 hour drive away and I send it to Grandkids.
Also have a memory tree - know where every ornament came from and love thinking of each person when I decorate.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com