First off, I don’t have kids (yet) – but I found myself in the kitchen with a 3 year old, 5 year old and some gingerbread this past weekend. Let’s rewind. A word to the wise – kids remember EVERYTHING. So a couple of weeks ago, I may have mentioned (in passing) to my nephew that he could come over one day to bake cookies. About a week ago he referenced this conversation, wondering where his invitation stood. I had just gotten so busy as life tends to get during this time of year. But he was sure going to hold me accountable and I love him for it. While I was at it, I invited my niece as well.
As it’s Christmas Eve, I thought, it’s a perfect time as any to share the joys of spending time with family – not least of which is in the kitchen doing some Christmas baking!
The Task: Gingerbread Cookies
1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Cookie Sheets (2)
1/2 cup dark molasses
For frosting: 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, food coloring and zip lock bags.
I didn’t mange to snap any pictures of the dough making process, too chaotic. But we had a great time measuring out everything and getting a good whiff of all the spices. They didn’t care for the smell of the molasses.
Here is the dough, after combining all dry and wet ingredients and kneading:
After rolling out the dough, we cut out the cookie shapes with your standard store bought cookie cutters (Gingerbread Girl, Snow Man, Christmas Tree). There was a bit of a struggle over who got to use the Gingerbread girl but it all worked out in the end. My niece was very gracious about the whole thing Aren’t girls always? 🙂
While the dough was resting in the fridge (about ten minutes) we moved on to making the frosting. After beating the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar with an electric mixer (for about 5-8 minutes), I separated the mixture into five bowls. We then added about four drops of food coloring to each bowl. Be careful as the food coloring will stain. The kids decided on yellow, green, blue and red (pink), and purple. We also kept one white. I think they enjoyed this part best.
To decorate the cookies with the frosting you don’t need anything fancy. I used plastic zip lock bags – snipping the corner edge of each back to make a small hole. Perfect substitute for a piping bag and nozzle.
While the cookies baked (about ten minutes), the kids went for a walk (not alone). My nephew thought the Christmas stockings made for nice boots.
By the time they returned, the cookies had cooled and we went about decorating. Now, as mentioned, they are only 3 and 5, but I think they did a better job than I did. 🙂
The finished product. Tah-dah!
A process that would normally take about an hour and half from start to finish, actually took about 3 hours in this case. 🙂 But I (we) had an amazing time and their joy, excitement and even their disputes over the cookie cutters and who got to mix which frosting colors – touched my heart and brought many smiles to my face.
I hope that whatever you’re doing during this time of year, and whether you’re with your loved ones or far away, that this holiday season is full of moments that bring you joy, happiness and…
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