I live 500 miles away from my hometown and miss my dear sister, Donna. Boo hoo. I was delighted to find a teacup in her favorite shade of yellow at the local thrift store last week. So of course I had to decorate some Gingerbread cookies in yellow and gold to go with the teacup. The water for tea is in the kettle. All that is missing is my sister. The next time she visits, she will drink from this cup.
Ok, I’ll be honest, I almost ate my sister’s gingerbread! But I stopped in time to wrap it up well in plastic wrap and then foil and then freeze it. It will last well that way at least 6 months. In the meantime, I’ll eat one of the pink decorated hearts.
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Here is the recipe for Gingerbread. It is THE best gingerbread I have ever tasted and many people have asked me for the recipe over the years. It is the recipe I use at Christmas to make Gingerbread houses and cookies. The recipe was from my mom and I don’t know where she got it. It’s at least 45 years old.
1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 12-oz bottle molasses
Stir in: 2/3 cup cold water [Note: I pour the water into the newly emptied molasses bottle and shake it up to remove the last of the molasses from the bottle. Mixture will look a little curdled until the flour is mixed in.]
Sift together and add:
6 1/2 c. unbleached flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1. Mix dough well. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you will probably have to mix it by hand because it is too stiff for most hand mixers. I usually add about 1/4 cup more flour to make the dough easier to roll later. Cover the dough in the mixing bowl and chill overnight.
2. On a floured surface, roll out one fourth of the chilled dough at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. Roll out very thick, about 1/2″ with floured rolling pin.
[NOTE: I usually roll the dough thinner just so I can get more cookies out of it. But it’s awesome and soft when you roll it thick like the old recipe says. Also, I roll the dough on a piece of floured plastic wrap. It is easier to turn the cutouts over onto my hand than to pick large ones up.]
3. Cut dough with floured cutter and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets using a wide, floured spatula.
4. If using raisins to decorate, press raisins into cookies.
5. Bake at 350 for 15 to 18 minutes or more, depending on thickness of cookie. Test one cookie to see if the center is done before removing them from the oven. Thicker cookies may take longer.
6. Cool slightly on cookie sheets and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely before decorating.
Beat all together till stiff:
1 fresh egg white
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
About 1 2/3 cup sifted 10x sugar
After beating, cover immediately with plastic wrap. Keep icing covered at all times; it dries out very fast. Pipe onto cookies using a decorator bag fitted with #14 or 16 star tip or a #2 round tip.
Store cookies airtight for a couple days. May be wrapped and frozen for weeks.