Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gingerbread People

I love gingerbread at Christmastime. All year I look forward to making it and nurse secret fantasies of perfecting my dough recipe in, say, April, so that I can stash away balls of gingerbread dough in the freezer all year and have a ready supply come December. Of course, this never happens. When I want gingerbread, I have to start from scratch, and there is always that irritating line in the recipe: ‘chill overnight’. I always forget about that and then have to deal with disappointed Zoe who wants to make the gingerbread NOW.

Anyway. I am pleased to announce that I made some delicious (if I may say so myself) Gingerbread and would love to share the recipe with you.

4 cups all purpose flour –maybe more if your dough is too sticky.

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1tbsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tbsp ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves (don’t get this one wrong or your mouth will go nice and numb)

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted is fine too. This whole thing with unsalted butter – Whatever!) softened slightly and cut into chunks.

3/4 cup of unsulphered molasses (otherwise known as Fancy)

2 tbsp milk



Oven at 350.

Mix the flour, spices, salt, sugar and baking soda together. Add the butter and do that combining thing where you end up with a mix of dry ingredients and butter that looks like lumpy sand.

Then add the molasses and go crazy on that puppy until it’s all mixed up. Add the milk. At this point, you will have a gloppy mess and will question your own ability to count cups of flour. Just add some more. Dump in a cup and see if things improve. You can do it! I trust you! Not like my grade 6 Home Ec teacher. What was her name? She taught at North Saanich Middle School and was about 300 years old then so she is possibly no longer with us. Damn I can’t remember her name. Anyone?? She really had a huge amount of faith in our abilities and so challenged us by including in her curriculum such items as ‘Buttered Toast’ and ‘heating up Alphagetti’. The Alphagetti one was the best. I remember Dave Martins and someone else…(another Dave, I think) laughing so hard that letters were coming out of their nostrils. Mrs. Whatsit didn’t think it was that funny.

Once you have a nice dough going on, divide it in half and wrap that sucker up in saran wrap or wax paper and stick it in the freezer. Or you could roll it out, sandwich it in wax paper and freeze it that way but who has time to do that.

It is now probably close to 11pm so that gives you plenty of time to finish the laundry, clean the kitchen, make lunches, sweep the floor, write the 3rd proof of your graduate dissertation, carve a reindeer out of soapstone, and retrieve abandoned food items from around the house while your husband surfs the internet looking for an obscure accessory for his latest gadget. (Oh, I’m kidding. That NEVER happens) before going to bed.

After you have had breakfast, take out the dough  and let it thaw. You will probably forget about it for awhile. That’s Ok. When you finally remember the dough at 7pm, roll it out to about 3/4 inch think. This dough flattens slightly when you bake it so don’t roll it too thin. It will look like this:


The flour makes it look authentic, no?

Then go crazy with your cookie cutters, like we did.DSC05486



LOVE the pudgy hands :) And for all of you smart-asses out there who are right now thinking of a funny comment about how Zoe’s hands  don’t look any different than Jane’s hands, thanks very much, but I’m pretty sure I have heard all the ‘small hands’ jokes out there already.

When you are done cutting out shapes, transfer them to a non-stick baking sheet. If your baking sheet is so old that the term non-stick no longer applies, then grease it up and dust with flour and that should do the trick. Or you can use that new-fangled parchment paper but I’m afraid I’m old-skool and don't really know what that is.

Keep rolling out the scraps and cutting out shapes until it’s all used up.

Then stick them in the oven for like 15 minutes TOPS. Go read your kid a book. When you can poke their little tummies and they just spring back a little, they are done (the gingerbread people, not your kids). Take ‘em out, let them sit for a minute or so, then put them on a rack to cool.

DSC05489 DSC05488

Then eat them. Or store them in a cookie tin like I did except mine was a bit too small or I tried to fit too many in the tin and all their limbs broke off. I can now offer my guests a gingerbread head or a gingerbread leg, and my favourite, a gingerbread torso. Oh it all tastes the same in the end.


Thanks for reading,



1 comment:

  1. Very informative and helpful. I was searching for this information but there are very limited resources. Thank you for providing this information

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