Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Christmas is long gone... and so are the gingerbread cookies that I baked then. 'Twas all my son's doing. His classmate's mom made them and sent one cute gingerbread man for each kid in the class, with the each kid's name written in icing on the cookie, no less. My son was all excited. He had a big discussion with his teacher who told him she had baked some too... She told him they can be made into all different kinds of shapes. My son had reached a decision then and there. Back home that day, as he sat relishing his cookie, he divulged his plan to me. "Amma,", he said, "lets bake some gingerbread cookies for Christmas. Lets make some gingerbread boys and girls for my friends and christmas tree for me and a snowman for Appa". "What about me?" I ask. "You can make whatever shape you want".
His enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I just didn't want to disappoint him. So, I set about the task of finding the right recipe and landed on this one here. Of course, I made a few changes here and there after some more R&D over the internet, as I wanted to make do with the ingredients I had on hand, like the light brown sugar instead of the dark, honey instead of molasses, store bought vanilla icing and sprinkles etc. I converted the recipe to half the quantity as I am not a great baker and was skeptical how this would turn out.
My son helped out a lot, sifting the flour, adding the dry ingredients, cracking the egg(this was his fav part). He called us "Little Chef and Big Chef". I didn't care how the cookies turned out, cos all my efforts were paid off by his excitement and pride of being a part of the whole project. I made all the shapes he wanted, and with the rest of the dough I just made hearts. The dough yielded 10 figurines, 30 hearts and one batch of 30 burnt hearts :-( yup, I burnt a batch of cookies. I did not turn on the timer and totally forgot all about it. 30 minutes later, I had 30 hearts burning in my oven :-( Well, atleast I had some good ones too...I iced them, decorated them with the sprinkles and voila! there they were, looking cute???(I was horrible with the icing) and smelling heavenly.
A very happy and proud "Little Chef" distributed the cookies to our friends the next day. Well, the verdict? They had turned out amazing. All the kids and parents alike loved the cookies. What more can I say? It might just be the start of a new tradition in my home :-) Hope y'all enjoy tooo...
1 1/2 cups plus 2-3 teaspoons sifted all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 stick unsalted butter (room temperature, softened)
1/4 cup Light brown sugar, packed
1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup Honey
Optional raisins, chocolate chips, candy pieces, frosting
Store bought Royal Vanilla Icing
1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
2. In another bowl cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture and keep mixing using a long wooden spoon.
3. Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. If after refrigerating the dough feels too soft to roll-out, work in a little more flour.
4. Heat oven to 350°. Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Refrigerate again for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to cut out the cookies. Use either a cookie cutter or just freehand(as I did) use a knife to cut into desired shapes. Press raisins, chocolate chips, or candy pieces in the center of each cookie if desired for "buttons".
5. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.