It's Christmas week! I'm suddenly being hit with the weight of all the things I have to do this week, and getting a little panicked. :) I would much rather hide under the covers with a big mug of hot chocolate and some of these delicious gingerbread cookies. They're the perfect easy and festive holiday recipe, and super adaptable. They're sturdy enough for building gingerbread houses but still soft and tender.
I've made gingerbread many times before, but this recipe really is a perfect basic version. The spice is subtle and not overwhelming, which makes it perfect for the kiddos. The cookies are easy to roll out and keep their shape nicely while baking. My kids and I made these together for a fun Christmas break activity, and it was the perfect family-friendly recipe.
I'm trying hard to be less neurotic and perfectionistic and just let the kids decorate their cookies however they want, and this was definitely a success in that regard. I let them choose their cookie cutters (they both really wanted ninja-bread men) and let them go through my sprinkle drawer and candy drawer (yes I have both of those) to choose whatever they wanted to use. It was super fun to see what they came up with! I decided to keep my own cookies simple and did some cute little houses and reindeer. For the houses, I piped the outline and the snow on the roof, sprinkled with white sanding sugar, and added a mini M&M for a door and a heart sprinkle to make it cute. For the reindeer, I stuck on candy noses and eyes with icing, then piped on some antlers with chocolate candy melts. Both super easy and really cute!
Basic Gingerbread CookiesJust for fun, here are the cookies my kids made. My four year old is always great at decorating cookies... and the table... and floor...
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
assorted candies and sprinkles
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, molasses, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and mix until combined. The dough should be firm and not sticky; add an additional 1/4 flour if needed. Shape the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disc of the dough out to desired thickness (mine were about 1/4 inch thick). Cut with desired cookie cutters and carefully move to baking sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom and cooked through. Allow to cool before decorating.
To make the icing, whisk together the butter and powdered sugar. Add milk until the mixture reaches a good consistency for piping. Decorate as desired.
adapted from Glorious Treats
My eight year old did a great job decorating hers! Her ninja-bread men crack me up.
Such a fun Christmas activity!