The best classic Gingerbread Cookies recipe! It just wouldn't be Christmas without these.
Here's my perfect gingerbread man ... just plain. No frosting. No icing. No decorations. Just 'nekked,' some might say. I like to taste the wonderful spicy gingerbread flavor without any competition from sweet icings or embellishments.
|My idea of the perfect gingerbread man ... just 'nekked!'|
Here's 1st graders' idea of the perfect gingerbread man ... their philosophy = the more frosting the better! It's so fun to watch them having a big ol' time decorating their gingerbread. (I especially love the cookie on the bottom right with the long red hair.)
|1st graders' idea of the perfect gingerbread man|
On 'Gingerbread Afternoon,' I set up three stations in the room that the students rotate through. At two of the stations, students work on the gift we make for their parents - a gingerbread ornament with a photograph of the student as the gingerbread "man's" face, and a gingerbread house gift bag made with a brown paper lunch sack. At the third station ... they get to decorate and eat their gingerbread cookie. And they love it!
What made this year's gingerbread stations extra fun was that my Mom and Dad came to help out. I loved having them there! My Mom facilitated the ornament station. My Dad helped me with the cookie station. It was my Dad's first time volunteering in my classroom, and he was so sweet with the kids. We worked together to demonstrate decorating a cookie for each group, and then we'd let them have at it themselves. Fun, fun, fun. It might be one of my favorite 1st grade days each year.
The recipe I use for my gingerbread cookies is adapted from Muster Day Gingerbread in Valerie Barrett's The Complete Book of Gingerbread. The recipe gets its name from the military Muster Day held in New England each year. According to the recipe note:
"In New England before the Civil War, the first Tuesday of every June was Muster or Training Day. All men from 18 to 45 were required to go for military training and many of them took their families along. It became a festive occasion and gingerbread was an essential part of the day's menu," (p. 18).
So, whether you prefer gingerbread 'just nekked' or the 1st-grade-way, enjoy creating your perfect gingerbread man!
I wish you a very merry Christmas filled with tasty treats and wonderful times with family and friends.
Adapted from: Muster Day Gingerbread in The Complete Book of Gingerbread by Valerie Barrett
1/4 c. brown sugar
Generous 1/3 c. molasses
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, cut into chunks
2 1/2 to 3 c. all-purpose flour
1. Put sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a pan* and heat to boiling point. Stir in baking soda. Take off heat and pour mixture over the butter in a bowl.
2. Stir until the butter has melted. Break egg into the mixture and then work in the flour. Mix gently together until it becomes a smooth dough.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. When chilled and stiffened slightly, roll out and cut out cookies with cookie cutters (I roll mine a bit thick ... probably about 1/4" thick. I like thick, soft cookies).
5. Place cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
6. Decorate with icing, if desired.
(*Note - Place your brown sugar, molasses, and spices in a saucepan larger than you think you'll need. When you stir in the baking soda, the mixture foams up on you!)