I was all set to be very BAH HUMBUG throughout this holiday season.
Hanukkah came early and it took my whole family about an hour of digging through every cabinet in our entire home, three floors worth of closets, before we finally found our menorah. On the plus side, I did find our blue mixing bowl which had been missing and presumed dead since last June. (Over the summer NINE forks disappeared and have never been seen again! NINE!) But we got that holiday out of the way, along with Thanksgiving, and so I thought maybe I'd be done.
But my younger daughter has had two snow days this week. And being the absolute saint that I am (cough cough) I agreed, after some begging, not only to put up the Christmas tree, but also to bake gingerbread cookies. Honestly, I wasn't planning on either of these activities. (And I almost never wrap any gifts. Too lazy for wrapping. I told my daughter at college to buy her own gift and I'd pay her back. No lie.)
So the tree is now up. It looks pretty. And my daughter and I had a very fun afternoon setting it up (fake tree, of course) and decorating it. Today, with the snow sticking to everything outside, it is truly beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas.
Normally, when I bake for Christmas, I use an original Betty Crocker recipe called Merry Christmas Cookies that my mother made for me when I was a child. The recipe is posted in my blog somewhere; if you dig around, I'm sure you'll find it. But this year, my daughter wanted gingerbread men. So I found a new recipe through Fine Cooking. I made a couple of small changes and thought I'd share it with you.
The cookies came out exactly as I hoped. They are not overly sweet, just spicy enough, and slightly chewy. I like them without any icing or adornment, but you could decorate them as well.
1 stick butter, unsalted, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup molasses
3 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (I get mine at Trader Joe's.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 and 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg and molasses and beat well. Add dry ingredients to form stiff dough. Chill dough overnight in fridge.
Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut cookies with cookie cutters (DUH!) and place on silpat sheets or parchment paper. Bake at 350F for about 9 minutes. (We found 10 minutes a tad too long if you want soft, chewy cookies.) Cool on rack. Enjoy!
PS These cookies GREAT with a cup of chocolate pumpkin chai! I posted that recipe yesterday.