Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ginger Friends

Nutritious, delicious vegetarian meals will eventually return to my diet.

I promise.

But for now: gingerbread people...and lots of 'em.

(And yes, my ginger-seasoned cookie creations are gender neutral. What can I say? My Women's Studies roots even influence my baking practices.)

This gingerbread cookie recipe is classic--no frills, no creative "foodie twists." Just pure, simple, molasses n' ginger-spiced, person-shaped treats. And where does a gal turn for a traditional, classic recipe? Her trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook of course.

Since this recipe produces so many cookies, these little guys will be spreading holiday cheer all over the place this season. First on the list is a crowd who's easy to please: my students. A roomful of teenagers + a plate of Christmas cookies = one happy crowd, and one empty plate.

Another fun idea for your gingerbread folks is to use them as gift tags. Instead of writing a gift recipient's name on a gift tag, I like to write the their name on a gingerbread cookie, package in a clear cellophane bag with a ribbon, and affix to the gift.

Again, I promise the vege-head goodness will return to A Hungry Spoon soon enough. But this season only comes once a year...and so do my gender-neutral ginger friends.

Classic Gingerbread Cookies
(recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook; makes approximately 50 cookies)

Gingerbread cookies are a classic staple on any holiday cookie plate. While the cookbook recommends using a simple confectioner's sugar icing, I couldn't resist making buttercream frosting to ice mine.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP vinegar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Optional: frosting for decorating
1) Beat the shortening, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves with an electric mixer until well-combined. Beat in the molasses. egg, and vinegar until thoroughly mixed. Beat in flour. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets with cooking spray and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough with desired cookie cutter shapes and place on prepared baking sheets.

3) Bake cookies for 5 - 6 minutes, or until edges are light brown (mine were done in 5 and half minutes!). Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate with frosting...because it's necessary and cute.

4) For frosting: I actually didn't measure anything when I made my frosting, but I estimate that it was about 3 TBSP butter, 1 - 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, and 1 - 2 TBSP milk. I beat these ingredients together and transferred the frosting to a sandwich-size ziploc bag. I cut a hole in one tip, and used as an impromptu pastry bag.


  1. Gender neutral gingerbread people - I love it!! It's odd that I've never made gingerbread because it's such a classic. So yummy! These came out so cute!

  2. They are very cute. I would love to have one for Christmas :D

  3. You're cookies turned out adorable! When I used to live in the dorms I would bake, put a plate out in the kitchen, and they'd literally be gone within hours! Hungry college kids are great taste testers too! Lol

  4. I LOVE gingerbread cookies!! (obviously haha) Your gingerbread cookies are so cute and look really tasty. What a great idea to use them as gift tags! I would have never of thought of that, I'm definitely using that idea for my gifts.

  5. While they are so very cute...I have never liked the taste of gingerbread cookies :(

    Very cute though!!

  6. So awesome that you just posted this. Can I ask what you used for the frosting? I just ordered some gingerbread men cookie cutouts (the ones where the head, leg, or arm is cut off - hilarious!) and don't know what to use for the frosting. I want something that will harden. Any suggestions? :)

  7. Ive never had a gingerbread man, and since everyone I know doesnt like them I am thinking I am going to need to make them for myself if I ever want to try them! I did like the gingerbread latte at starbucks though, so that means I will like the cookie right? ;)

  8. I'm with Kat. I've never had a Gingerbread man. My Mom makes Gingerbread Heart ornaments for the Christmas Tree, but no critters.

    It's okay if healthy eating takes a back seat in December. This time of year is about living first.

  9. I love it! I studied women's and gender studies as an I laughed out loud at your comment. I'm all about gender neutral cookies too :-) Thank you so much for sharing these precious treats with me tonight. I hope you have a wonder-filled Friday!

  10. Ahhh! Your gingerbread people are so cute, they look totally old school!

  11. Your ginger friends are so cute! What nice smiles :)

  12. although I didn't grow up in a family where gingerbread was made as a Christmas cookie I love love it and now I'm definitely eating for all the childhood years I didn't LOL
    your gender-neuter ginger cookies are so yummy.
    thanks for sharing with us
    have a wonderful weekend