“Run, run as fast as you can,
You can’t catch me
I’m the gingerbread man!”
If you don’t know that little rhyme you probably grew up under a rock. Or your mom didn’t love you enough. Or you might hate childhood. But the chances of that are pretty slim, because that story is synonymous with growing up. I’m pretty sure there is some moral to that story, but I really couldn’t tell you what it is. I am certain that I love gingerbread and Gingerbread Men are delicious. I so wanted to be that fox in the story. Absolutely. No problems eating an adorably cute man on the run. Obviously I am a horrible person.
Somewhere along the lines gingerbread became a symbol for the holidays. I grew up baking them with my mom and decorating gingerbread houses with my brothers. I was seriously bummed to not make one this year. Going to Paris for Christmas is totally cramping my holiday baking style. Life is hard.
But one afternoon I whipped up some gingerbread cookie dough and baked some cute little gingerbread people. I am a sucker for traditional holiday activities and decorating cookies is high on that list. I do not have one artistic bone in my body, as you can see below, but I just roll with. At least I get to eat these creations. My boyfriend and I spent an afternoon decorating these little monsters and after the fight with the frosting (it was a draw) we had some yummy little guys. When I was little I always ended up with more frosting in my hair and on my face than on the cookie. Thankfully, that has changed some, but not much.
my stellar artistic skills
If you are looking for a last holiday adventure in the kitchen and want to feel all Christmasy before Santa comes, look no further. Decorating cookies has the power to transport you back to childhood, complete with the need for cocoa and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Or is that only me?
*from Martha Stewart
Makes 2 to 5 dozen cookies, depending on size.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbs. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your finger and thumb.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the molasses. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is blended.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt together onto a bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a wooden spoon until well blended.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, form into a large, smooth mound. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, shape into disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days (I stuck the dough in the freezer for 2 weeks beforehand).
- When ready to bake cookies, preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with baking mat.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Using gingerbread cookie cutters, cut out figures. Transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough portions, then gather up the scraps and reroll them. If the scraps of dough have become sticky, dust with powdered sugar before rerolling. Try not roll the same piece of dough more than twice.
- Bake the gingerbread figures until lightly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.
- Decorate with royal icing, sanding sugar, and other candies (I prefer red hots, colored sugar, and icing).