Friday, December 7, 2007

When the ginger creams are made the Christmas season begins

Luke 1:41-43 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Around our house it doesn't really feel like we are in the Christmas season until a batch of ginger creams has been made, preferably a double batch. They are usually eaten way before Christmas day, but no matter. I'm sure it is often hoped that I will make another batch by then, but that is usually when things are getting too busy. My husband's mother always made these. Unfortunately she had died before I met him, so I do not know what the originals were like, but I suspect I come very close. She also made springerle cookies which I have yet to successfully make, but Riley is always hopeful that I will get them made some day. Maybe this year.

On Friday last Sarah came over to spend the day because Zac was having a wrestling meet in Beaverton and would be gone until late in the evening. She and I decided that we would make Christmas cookies in the evening. Not long after we were starting Annie and Tia and Corey all showed up and were eager to join in on the cookie making. It was decided that we should watch something Christmassy but there was some trouble in agreeing on what to watch. The tv has no VHS or DVD player because Annie took it. Now I am really hoping that she will return it, but until then we had to rely on what had been recorded on the DVR. We decided to watch a sappy Christmas movie that I had recorded called The Christmas List. I almost NEVER watch sappy movies, I had probably assumed it was a comedy. But we were soon all into it, including Riley.

We got the double batch of ginger creams ready and in the refrigerator to chill. The dough is rather cake like, and therefore it must be chilled to form cookies. And it was decided that it would be good to make rolled cookies also. With a little bit of searching I decided on a recipe in a Martha Stewart book, modifying it some. That dough was then divided into three lumps and wrapped in plastic wrap as disc to chill.

Ginger Creams

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream the butter, sugar, egg, molasses, and water.
Combine all the dry ingredients and stir them together.
Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix well.
Chill the dough for at least a half hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spoon out the dough onto cookie sheets using a small scoop if possible, else just by the heaping spoonful. The scoop gives a more well rounded looking cookie. Bake for about 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely before frosting.

Icing for the ginger creams:

about 2 cups of icing sugar
about 3 tbls of soft butter
about 2 to 3 tbls cream
1 tps vanilla

Mix the sugar and butter until the butter looks nice and yellow. The adding one tablespoon at a time, mix in the cream. You want enough cream to make the icing spreadable, but not runny in any way. Lastly, add the vanilla.

When putting the icing on the cookies immediately after a cookie has been frosted sprinkle on some colorful sprinkles. If you wait too long the sprinkles won't stick.

Gingerbread Cookies

1 pound flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
1 rounded tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 pound of butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon of minced candied ginger
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Combine the dry ingredients. Cream the butter, sugars, egg, candied ginger, and molasses Mix in the dry ingredients. Divide the dough into three lumps and wrap each in plastic wrap and chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut with cutters.  I like to make each tray of all the same cutter, so the cook evenly.  Bake for about 8 minutes, but you be the judge. These are very yummy just as they are, but decorating them with royal icing could be nice.  If you want to hang the cookies on the Christmas tree make a small hole in the top of the cookie before baking.  I like to use a chopstick.

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