Is there anything that smells more heavenly than freshly made gingerbread?
If there is – it’s hard to imagine. Of course – there are things that come close – like homemade bread, cinnamon buns, a pan full of garlic sautéing in butter, or stuffing loaded with onions, sage, rosemary, and thyme. But really, for me at least, nothing beats gingerbread; both the taste AND the smell of gingerbread. It smells of Christmas, of old-fashioned kitchens where people really cook, and of the sweetest childhood memories. It it is the scent of nostalgia and happiness. And it tastes of sweetness and spice and love.
This is a really old recipe. The one I’ve used forever. It was my mother-in-law’s recipe. I upped the amount of ginger because I’m incredibly fond of ginger.
This year, inspired by Chatelaine magazine’s sugar cookies gracing the cover of the December issue, I made royal icing and then used a food grade paint brush dipped in a few drops of vodka mixed with paste icing to paint on patterns. I know these are not works of art. That’s fine with me – they’re intended to be eaten. I’m not crazy about royal icing because you either have to use meringue powder (all those chemicals…) or a raw egg white (dangerous). Usually I just make icing from powdered sugar and milk or almond milk and that’s fine too – you just won’t get quite the same results. If you want to use regular icing – check out this post from the same day last year.
Now that I’ve made the gingerbread – it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas… or at least, a lot more like Christmas than it did a week or so ago. Next job – write and mail the cards. Onwards…
Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- I cup sugar
- 1 cup fancy molasses
- 1 egg
- 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tsp of ground (powdered) ginger
Use your favourite icing recipe. If using Royal Icing – let the icing set for at least 12 hours before proceeding to the vodka/paste colouring painting.