Friday, December 23, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

In the middle of last minute pre-Christmas-guest cleaning, my 4-year old asked to make cookies. So we did. Tonight's batch are gingerbread. Soft, spicy gingerbread. Man the house smells good.  And I'm sorry that none of the cookies in the photo are decorated. We will probably do that tomorrow when my sisters are here, but I wanted to share my recipe for any last minute Christmas Cookie Bakers out there.

These are a lot of fun for kids to help with, especially the part where you add the baking soda to the molasses/sugar mixture. Do you know what happens when you mix an acid with a base? Do you ever stop to think how much kid science you can teach in a kitchen? Word of advice: use a much bigger pan than you think you might need, or you might end up with a mess like a science fair volcano(but stickier!)

  • 2/3 cup dark molasses
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup) cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line one or more baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a 4-5 quart  pot, bring the molasses, brown sugar, and spices to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the baking soda. (The mixture will greatly increase in volume).
  4. Stir in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until melted. Add the egg.
  5. With a very heavy duty spoon (seriously, wood or strong non-bendy metal, not a plastic handled rubber one here), add about 3 3/4 cups of the flour, plus the salt and stir until combined.
  6. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board, adding the remaining flour, for about 30 seconds. The dough should be soft.
  7. Roll about half of the dough out at a time to 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Keep the other half wrapped in plastic wrap and at room temperature.
  8. Cut out cookies with cutters and bake on the lined cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Decorate and enjoy!

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