Monday, December 2, 2013
My Gingerbread Christmas Tradition by Paty Jager
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.
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.