The best gingerbread cookies

December 2012_005

I have made these cookies every single Christmas for as long as I can remember. Early on all of us kids would help Mom, we’d each take turns measuring all the different ingredients and stirring, rolling and cutting the cookies (eating lots of dough along the way! no eggs in this!) After a few years Mom left us in charge of gingerbread, headed up by my older sister. That was very clever of Mom, getting us to do the baking ;). I love these cookies, not only are they delicious but they are attached to some very fond memories for me. The recipe itself is originally from a little cookbook from Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. My great grandmother, Mommom, used to live down there. (She passed away at 97 years old last January) and fairly regularly my parents would pack all four of us into the van and make the 14?hr drive from Michigan to Virginia. We would always spend a day or two touring Colonial Williamsburg, going through the old houses, talking to costumed interpreters, seeing special programs. I loved going there, not fully realizing it was “boring old history.” I dare say those trips are what set the spark for my job today! But I digress. In the historic section of Williamsburg there is a small bakery tucked behind a building on mainstreet…and there are the most glorious gingerbreads. Round, super fluffy gingerbread cookies (They’re almost like a dense cake roll) combined with Williamsburgs own brew of ginger ale. Best treats ever. This is my older sister Nicole, little brother Justin, and me in the corner there. Sitting on the steps, eating our ginger breads.December 2012_001 So good!

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ok, so it wasn’t always gingerbread and sunshine… that’s me and my little brother Justin…being a little brother. Aren’t they great?

You ready for the recipe yet?

At the bottom of this post there’s a link to a PDF I created that has a recipe card all ready to go! It’s formatted to 5″x7″ but you can print it anyway you like. I like buying blank 5X7″ or 4×6″ index cards and print directly onto those. (Follow your printers instructions)

-Williamsburg Gingerbread-

Ingredients:

1 c. sugar
2 t. ginger
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 c. unsulphured molasses
3/4 t. vanilla
3/4 t. lemon extract
4 c. unbleached flour, unsifted

make sure you have all your ingredients before you start! Nothing like getting halfway through a recipe and realizing you don’t have enough molasses! (Speaking of Molasses, I knew this family of moles once; Papa Mole, Mama Mole and Baby Mole. They spent their days tunneling through gardens looking for delicious things to eat! One day as they’re tunneling along, Papa Mole pops his head above ground and sniffs…”It smells like pancakes up here! Mama Mole, come up here, do you smell that?” so Mama Mole wriggles in beside Papa Mole and pops her head above ground and sniffs… ” I don’t know Papa Mole, it smells more like waffles to me! Baby Mole what do you think?” There’s no more room beside Mama Mole and Papa Mole, so Baby Mole sniffs from the tunnel and yells…”All I can smell are mole asses!”) I’m sorry…that’s a bad joke. But one of my favorites…get it… Mole asses… molasses? Well I’ll continue, you’re probably wondering what to do with all these ingredients now!

-combine sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt & baking soda…mix well
-add butter, evap. milk & molasses. Add extracts…mix well.
-add flour 1 c. at a time, stirring constantly.

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if you have little ones helping, the last cup or two of flour is always the toughest to mix in, have the older ones do that!

-the dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers.
-add up to 1/2 c. additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking.
-when dough is smooth, roll it 1/4 in. thick on a floured surface & cut into cookies.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect. I always roll mine a little on the thick side, for optimum fluffiness.

-bake on greased cookie sheets in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8-10 min.

-cookies are done when they spring back when touched.
(for fluffy cookies, pat into 1/2 in. thick logs…cut in 1 in. squares & bake 9 min)

– Remove cookies to a cooling rack, decorations are optional (but fun!) We don’t usually decorate ours, they are so good just by themselves! Store finished cookies in an airtight container and enjoy!

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 Click this link for the PDF card, Gingerbread (it does not open in a new window.)

I hope you enjoy your gingerbread cookies as much as we do! I for one will always make them, until I have children who will make them for me….

Coming up next are Rumballs and Peanutbutter balls! Both also with their own 5×7″ recipe card!

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