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