Once long ago, in a kitchen far, far away, I made gingerbread cookies from scratch. They sucked.
Ever since, I have purchased a roll of Pillsbury slice and bake gingerbread dough...when I could find it. It's not easy to find...and this year I've been unsuccessful.
I follow a baker, Michelle, on FoodBuzz, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. NO, I'm not a stalker. She goes by the handle "BrownEyedBaker". I really like her stuff and lo and behold she posted about a gingerbread cookie dough she had used and really liked. Like me, she likes chewy cookies, not crispy...and she said these were tasty.
I printed it out and decided to make a batch and hope for the best. I must say, the dough was the most difficult dough I've ever worked with - but the reward for my tenacity really paid off. I have a tasty batch of gingerbread cookies, soft enough to make me happy, deliciously spicy, and firm enough to stand up to decorating with royal icing. I'm a happy camper!
I'm not going to print the recipe - but here's the link to the Brown Eyed Baker web site. Visit her site and you can easily print off the recipe. I made two tiny changes. I added 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste to the molasses before sending it down the food processor shoot with the milk. I also used light brown sugar instead of dark...because I didn't have any dark. One thing I observed...my cookies look a lot darker than hers. Oh well, who cares - the sample cookie tasted excellent - the way a gingerbread cookie should taste! IMHO :-)
OK - now you might be wondering why I thought this was challenging dough. It was warm and humid down here when I baked and whenever I had the dough out of the freezer for more than a minute, it got gummy and completely unable to handle. If I used virtually frozen dough, it handled BEAUTIFULLY. When I do these next year, I've made a note to myself to divide the dough into thirds for easier handling, and work straight from the freezer, rotating the pans. Re-rolling is no problem because you are rolling between parchment sheets and not adding flour over and over, which is problematic when re-rolling sugar cookies. I used every last bit of dough!
I used large cookie cutters - both gingerbread man and Christmas shapes were used. These were nice in that they didn't poof up and lose their shape...no eggs and minimal leavening I suspect...and my whole house smelled AWESOME as these baked! I thought a tablespoon of ginger and cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves was almost too much...but it was absolutely perfect. I'm completely happy. Thanks Michelle for the info and the inspiration!
Here are photos of the process and end result - I used the royal icing recipe I always use which may be found on my blog at this link!
|Ingredients - Remember to go to|
browneyedbaker.com for recipe!
|Butter chunks added to the dry goods|
|After the molasses is added - looks like gingerbread to me!|
|Rolling between sheets of parchment paper is integral!|
|Cut out just a couple at a time unless your house is chilly...mine was not!|
|The gingerbread people...they are quite dashing!|
|I love my little dude with a heart!|
And, the little dude with the fancy bow tie :-)
|Christmas lights - my new cookie cutter from Karen's Cookies|
|I wish I had made more big snowflakes. Really liked them.|
Also, loved the nice big tree.
All-in-all, I deem this cookie baking and decorating endeavor a grand success. They taste great and look pretty good too. I decorated these towards the end of the 7 1/2 hour decorating marathon I had on Tuesday. I'm grateful they are decorated at all! My arm and shoulders were so sore today I could barely lift them in Zumba. Our leader, Peter, had me all loosened up at the end of the session though. I live to decorate another day. And now, I'm off to the kitchen to make cake. (Let them eat cake, she yells in her head!)
Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!