Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Cookie of the Week: Gingerbread Cookies

Every year, December comes and goes as I attend to the holiday rush of parties, shopping and decorating while trying to keep to my usual schedule of trying one or two new recipes a week. Then January rolls around and I think to myself that I should have baked Christmas cookies. Baking Christmas cookies was not a tradition in my family so it’s not something that I associate with the holidays.

This year, I wanted to break out of my usual holiday routine and try some new things. Christmas cookies immediately came to mind. So please join me in my new tradition of Christmas Cookie of the Week. I will be trying out a new Christmas cookie recipe each week and sharing the results with you here.

My very first recipe is a time-honored one: gingerbread men. I had volunteered to make up a batch for an event at Rutgers Gardens. A long time ago, I had made the gingerbread men recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Last weekend, I decided to try the recipe from the bottle of Grandma’s Molasses. It uses cloves instead of allspice and butter instead of shortening which should result in a richer cookie.

The dough came together well and rolled very easily. My mistake with this recipe was greasing the cookie sheets. Not having any cooking spray on hand, I used shortening. I must have been a little heavy handed because the first batch of cookies spread out all over the cookie sheets. The second batch baked perfectly.

I didn’t decorate the cookies because they were to be decorated by attendees at the HollyDay event. They looked great, but were too soft for their intended use. I was also unhappy with the taste. Too spicy. More ginger snap than ginger cookie. I will go back to my trusty Betty Crocker recipe next year. Look for it in December 2010.

Verdict: Not bad, but I won’t be making these again

Gingerbread Cookies
(source: Grandma’s Molasses bottle)

8 tablespoon butter (1 stick)
½ cup sugar
½ cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Beat butter with sugar and molasses. Mix in egg. Sift dry ingredients and mix into wet mixture. Chill in freezer 1 hour or in refrigerator 2 hours. Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out portion of dough ¼” thick on lightly floured board. Chill remaining dough. Cut with cookie cutter, place on greased baking sheets and decorate with raisins, chips or nuts, if desired. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool.

3 dozen

Recycle: molasses bottle

Compost: eggshells

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