I am a holidork, especially when Halloween rolls around. I see all of these cute cakes and cookies that people make, and I think, “Man, I really want to do something like that this year.” I also know that though I love to bake, sometimes things go awry. This is especially true when using cookie cutters.
I’ve had my eye on Gingerdead Men cookie cutters ever since I saw them last Christmas at Target. I could never justify paying seven or eight bucks for a cookie cutter, especially knowing that things could go south and the cookie cutter could be stabbed or tossed in the trash out of rage. This year, at Walmart, a knock-off version of the same thing popped up in their Halloween section for $1.57. I’ll take a chance for less than $2.
I don’t know if it looks like the original, but it’s close enough for me. Last weekend, I decided to give this little guy a whirl. I found a recipe for real gingerbread cookies, and gathered my ingredients.
The recipe I found was called “The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies”. First, I mixed the dry ingredients. (I also improvised some of the spices because it called for clove, and I’m not a fan.)
3 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 T ginger
2-2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
I set aside the dry ingredients and gathered the wet ingredients.
6 T unsalted butter (don’t soften it)
3/4 C brown sugar (I used light because that’s what I had, but dark works too)
1 large egg
1/2 C molasses
1 T vanilla
1 T honey
First, I beat the butter, sugar, and egg in Mixy, my trusty KitchenAid mixer. Then, I added the molasses (having sprayed the measuring cup with a little coconut oil so the molasses would slide right out), vanilla, and honey.
Here comes the fun part–adding the dry ingredients. If you’ve ever baked anything, you know how quickly you can go from completely clean to “OH MY GOD FLOURNADO” should you add the dry ingredients too much at a time. This isn’t my first rodeo, so I did OK. I had a minor flour funnel cloud that covered the toaster, but it’s a crappy toaster anyway, so who cares?
Once I got it all mixed, here’s how it looked.
I had to let it stand for a couple of hours, so we headed out for Mexican food and groceries. While at the store, we bought seasonal hard ciders of apple cinnamon and pear and chili ingredients.
When we got home, we cracked open a couple of those ciders (because we thought alcohol might make things easier, or at least if we botched the cookies, we wouldn’t care). I am very lucky that I have a husband who likes to help with things like rolling out cookie dough. Otherwise, we might have had a baking war zone. It’s not that I can’t do it so much as he’s very meticulous and patient, and I get frustrated and want to stab things. It was the only way we were going to get the dough from a gingerblob to 1/4″ thickness.
Once that was done, we were ready to start cutting out cookies. This cookie cutter has the stamp on the back, so it’s a two-step process, but it keeps you from being frustrated as much when the cookie dough gets stuck in it.
Most of them turned out well.
Sometimes, though, things went awry. If the dough got warm at all, the stamp got stuck, particularly in the facial region.
Once we got a pan full, we popped them into a 375 degree oven. The recipe called for 7-10 minutes. I think we baked ours nine, but the rule is less time equals softer cookies.
The hard part was waiting for them to cool. They smell sooooooooooo good. Once we deemed them cool enough to embellish, we made a simple glaze.
1 1/2 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
I C confectioner’s sugar
Small dash of pure maple syrup
The fun part of these cookies is that they’re really cute when you put the glaze on them. The not so fun part is that it’s a pain in the ass to fill every crevice of the cookies with glaze. So we did what any normal, sane person who wants to sit down and drink more cider and have some cookies would do–we decorated a few of them the right way, and then after we got bored, we half-assed the rest of them.
These cookies were delicious and a lot of fun to eat*. I can see doing them again before Halloween, and definitely for Christmas. (Also, while they’re in no way health food, they are low fat so they’re better than the average bag of Halloween candy barf-flavored Oreos.)
*Lots of cookies were harmed in the making of this blog post. We ate them ALL! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA!