13 December 2010

Visions of Gingerbread

I know, I know, it's visions of sugar plums.  In fact, The Night Before Christmas was the first book I ever "read" as a kid.   I had it memorized when I was four.   I might try to make real sugar plums, but these cookies are old-fashioned, too, so in my mind they all get lumped together.  

December is the month of sugar. Cookies and cakes and sweetened hot drinks are offered up everywhere you go. Newspapers and magazines and blogs all publish recipes for sweet things you are expected to bake and share (with your friends and neighbors who are also baking and sharing.) And I start to wonder, when did we start needing quite so many different kinds of cookies? Are they really necessary, all these toffee-coffee-choco-banana-mint thumbprint sandwiches (with lemon glaze!)?

I say NO! No we do not need all those concoctions and I'm going to take a stand, just as soon as I'm done eating this banana-peanut-butter-sandwich cookies. Mmmm...

Where was I? Oh, yes, simplicity! And nothing could be simpler than these gingerbread cookies which snap satisfyingly in the mouth and aren't overly sweet, making them a nice counter-point to hot apple cider or mulled wine. They even store well in a tightly-lidded tin, so you can make a big batch and take them wherever you go for a week or so. And if rolling out dough and using cookie cutters is too complex you can always shaped the dough into logs and slice it into rounds after it has been chilled. Clear off your counters and give them a try.

my cookies, someone else's picture

Gingerbread cookies

10 ounces all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons dark molasses
1 large egg
Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar, molasses, and butter. Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Add egg and beat on high until mixture lightens.

Add flour to sugar mixture and beat to combine. Dough will be sticky.

Divide dough into two pieces and flatten each piece into a disc about 8” in diameter. Wrap discs in waxed or parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to cool, at least 2 hours or overnight. (You can do this step several days ahead, in case you need more time to clear your counters.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured counter. The longer your dough has been allowed to rest the less sticky it will be, but it will still be a bit sticky regardless, so flour your countertop and your rolling pin liberally. Roll dough to 1/8” thickness and cut with your favorite cookie cutter. Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes until just beginning to brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack. 

Come to my house and I will make cider and we'll talk while some number of small children and pets run around.  


  1. These are beautiful! Mine turned out a bit *too* snappy this year, I think ... but I'm going to try another recipe for a house. Think yours would be OK for a larger project? I know nothing about gingerbread architecture ...

  2. I don't know anything about gingerbread architecture either, but I think this would work well. It's sturdy enough. Let me know how it goes.



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