My best holiday memories are of activities that engaged my emotions and senses. Hard, cold snow in my glove as we made snowmen in the crisp winter air. Icicles dripping from the roof of the house as the sun warmed the air. The comforting buzz of family conversation on Christmas day. The gentle pull of cookie dough between my fingers and the spicy bite of ginger in the air and on my tongue. Christmas is something that’s sensed, isn’t it?
Whether it’s snowing or sunny where you live, baking gingerbread people with kids is a festive way to make holiday memories. For you all. Here’s an easy recipe:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp (freshly) ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 cup coffee or water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Medium & large bowls
Sift together in a medium bowl flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon & cloves.
In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses, vanilla & water. Slowly add in flour mixture until a smooth dough forms. The dough will be soft. Divide it into two or three pieces, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until dough firms up, usually 2 or more hours.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cookies can be soft or crispy, depending on the thickness of the dough.
For softer cookies:
Roll out dough to just under 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Use gingerbread man cookie cutters (3-inches or less) to cut dough. It’s fun to also use other shapes, like stars, bells, etc.
Line baking sheet with parchment and place cookies on it. Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on size of cookie cutter & your oven. When done, the edges of the cookies should be slightly firm to the touch. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack for further cooling.
If you prefer crispier cookies:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough with your cooky cutters. Again, use a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on size of cookie cutter. When done, cookies will be lightly browned & should be slightly firm to the touch at the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
Ice after they are completely cool.
p>Makes about 30-40 gingerbread men, depending on size.
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Mix it everything but cream together. Then, add cream until smooth. If you’d like colors, add food coloring.