Sunday, December 18, 2005

Holiday recipe - Gingerbread cookies

(I've been wanting to post all weekend, but have had too much to say. Instead of sitting down and writing a bunch of drafts to tidy up and post later, I did what I usually do when I get excited about something - I lie down with a cool cloth on my forehead until the moment passes. I will post at least a few more times before I go on holidays.)

The other day, I got a lovely card from Jen (aka The Canuck Librarian) in which she requested that I post my favourite holiday recipe. Well, here is the gingerbread cookie recipe that we've been making in our family for years. Lately, I've seen quite a few other recipes for gingerbread, ranging from something similar to others which make me raise my eyebrows. Trust me, this one is damn good.

5 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (I can't remember what the substitute is - Mom? Help?)
2 tsp ginger (I used half dry, half fresh zested ginger)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of molasses
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 egg
4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups of hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine flour, cream of tarar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. Add remaining ingredients and stir only until ingredients are blended. The dough may be too wet, so add more flour if necessary.

4. Roll onto a floured surface (make sure the rolling pin is floured too!) I find it's easier if you do it in smaller chunks than trying to do it all at once.

How thick you roll the dough depends on what kind of cookie you want. The thinner you roll them, the crisper they will be. The thicker you roll them, the cakier they will be. And yes, baking time will also factor into this.

It goes without saying that now's the time to use cookie cutters to cut shapes in the dough. Use whatever cutters you want. I have a couple of Christmas cutters, but I also have a bat and a Halloween cat I was tempted to use. Go with the flow! And if you're going to hang them on the tree, don't forget to poke a hole with a straw in the top .

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

They are delicious with a glass of milk or a mug of tea.