Saturday, December 13, 2008


I went downtown today to meet a couple women from the National PTA (more on that later). Anyway, at the train station I met a gentleman who introduced himself as Hanukkah Harry. That's the great thing about taking the train - you always meet nuts interesting characters.

Then a group of runners in Santa gear, came jogging by, wishing everyone happy holidays and passing out candy canes. :)

When I got home, I mixed up a batch of gingerbread men. And before anyone asks, here's my recipe. It makes THE BEST gingerbread! I cut them on the thick side and try not to overbake them so they're nice and chewy. If you like crunchy gingerbread or you're using it to make houses, just roll the dough out a little more thinly and bake it a little longer. It makes it a bit sturdier for construction.

5 - 5 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cloves
1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. unsulphured molasses
2 eggs,beaten

Preheat oven to 375. Thoroughly mix flour, soda, salt, and spices. Melt shortening in large saucepan. Cool slightly. Add sugar, molasses, and eggs; mix well. Add 4 cups dry ingredients and mix well. (Make sure shortening is cooled enough, and add the eggs slowly while stirring, or you'll have a scrambled egg mess.)

Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary to make a firm dough. (I always need to add a little more flour.) Roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness for cut-out cookies. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake small and medium sized cookies for 6-10 minutes, and large cookies for 10-15 minutes. (Put the same sized cookies on one sheet at a time or you'll have some underdone while others burn.)

Decorate cookies with Royal Icing and/or candies after they cool. I use 3 T. meringue powder, 1 lb. powdered sugar and 5-6 T. water to make Royal Icing. Beat it for like 10 minutes on medium. This icing is super-strong and fluffy. Because it's made with meringue powder instead of egg whites, you don't have to worry about the kids getting sick when they squirt the bags of icing directly into their mouths while "decorating".

Here are our creations...

Not my M&M button!

such concentration


An easy way for kids to decorate (especially if you don't have a bunch of cake decorating supplies) is to put the icing in a zip-lock sandwich bag, seal it, and cut off a tiny bit on the corner of the bag. It's easy for kids to squirt the icing out of the little hole in the bag and the icing won't go glopping out of the top this way.

This is basically what Brooklyn did - pile M&Ms all over the cookies and then pick them off and eat them.

Having fun decorating

Savannah helped me bake the cookies, but then went to a movie with her friend and missed the decorating.


Brenda said...

Looks like fun! I spent the day finishing the indoor decorating.Yours looks yummier.

Robin said...

Looks like a ton of fun! We dipped pretzels tonight so we have a similar mess going on in our kitchen..sprinkles and almond bark everywhere. That's just part of the holiday fun!
Merry Christmas!

Jen said...

I just made Hannukah Harry the avatar on my moms group website.

Anonymous said...

Your gingerbread men turned out so cute! I wish I could "whip up" a batch. It always seems like a big ordeal to me, although I do love making them.

Marly said...

That looks like so much fun! I'll have to try it with my kids. I think I may get some really frosted ones too.

Martha said...

Very cute cookies! You all did a fantastic job. I guess I should get in the holiday spirit and do some baking!

Quality Chick said...

Finally - a Sunday Shout Out question. Your recipe looks yummy but I am curious if it is Feingold friendly with the M&M's? We are another family whose sanity you have save by sharing your Feingold experience. We have only started modifying our son's diet but we are noticing a difference. Food coloring seems to be a huge culprit so I am really curious about the M&Ms as he loves eating them.

Vivian M said...

Thanks for the recipe!

Sila Lumenn said...

Fantastic gingerbread men! I think I'm going to try your recipe next weekend. I'm even going to attempt your royal icing. I've always been a bit afraid of royal icing, but you make it sound easy.

Tesia said...

Did I get the first note?

I love those green M&Ms the most! Yum!
Can't wait to make my own batch of Mint M&M cookies for Xmas.

AuntyM said...

The decorated gingerbread people are a hoot! I'd eat the ones with lots of m&ms. The one-eyed ones made me lol. Very creative decorators you have there!

Kristi said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe! Those look yummy. I will have to make those with my girls. : )

Tracy said...

You must have read my mind, my kids have been after me to find a recipe for gingerbread to make a house. Thanks!

Patois said...

I'm so darn hungry right now. They're lucky I'm not nearby, eating their M&M buttons.

StampingJoan said...

These cookies look YUMMY!

And I couldn't help but notice those magnets next to Brooklyn!!!
My son has 2 sets of those and he drives me crazy with them! The dog hates the sound of them clanging together and he torments her with them! UGH!

Geev said...

Thank you for sharing! I was on the hunt for a recipe since I got "signed up" to do gingerbread men for my son's kindergarten class.

Since you shared with us, I'll share a tip with you that I got from Martha Stewart that I now swear by. When making cut-out cookies, rest and roll out your dough on your silpat mat. After you cut out the cookie shape, pull away the "negative" dough and you can move the mat straight to the oven. This alleviates the stress of moving the cookie without it tearing and reduces the amount of flour you use to keep the dough from sticking - which can make the cookie too floury.

Thanks again!

Amanda E said...

"Ok! I'll tell you....Do you know the Muffin Man?"
"The Muffin Man?"
"The Muffin Man!"
"Yes I know The Muffin Man....Who lives on Drury lane?"
"Well, she's married to The Muffin Man."

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

Is it bad if I tell you that YOU SUCK. GAH. Now I have NO excuse for not baking. You can do it with 6 kids and I can't do it with 2. Well, that and the fact that I can't bake. Can't. Do. It.

I'm checking my mail for a G-Man.

Tina K said...

I just had to stop by your site and tell you I made these last night. They are so yummy! Thanks for sharing. Everyone loved them:-)
Oh and very easy to make. The dough is so easy to work with, not to sticky at all.
Thanks again!

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