Run, run, as fast as you can,
You can’t catch me,
I’m the gingerbread man!
I don’t know how, why or when the Gingerbread man became associated to Christmas, but it’s a tradition that I can definitely appreciate, considering I’m mad for ginger (gingersnaps, ginger beer, Weasleys, etc). I was familiar with the fairytale while growing up and I have to say, it always disturbed me that this old lady made a child out of food… Talk about filling the void…
On that note, while baking these yesterday, I realised that my younger siblings probably didn’t know the story. Which I blame entirely on the internet, tv and video games, by the way. Children these days don’t get the same exposure we used to get as close as ten years ago, they don’t need to read an entire encyclopedia to find one bit of information because they can just google something. There goes general knowledge.
As I rolled out the dough and employed Adam and Elyza to cut out the cookies for me, I told them the very disturbing story. I made sure to enhance the story’s impact on them by telling the classic 1875 version… where Gingy (let’s go with it) cries out “I’m quarter gone! I’m half gone! I’m three quarters gone!” made worse by biting off the cookie limbs during the retelling, relishing the twin looks of horror on their faces.
Elyza has more heart than me though, she always bites off the heads first… it’s more humane.
Classic Gingerbread Recipe
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp ground ginger (to taste)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses (I used the mild flavoured kind)
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter on medium speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy
- Add the sugar, beat until incorporated then add the egg
- When the butter mixture is lighter, add the molasses and beat for 3-5 minutes
- Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until incorporated
- Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours) or ready to bake
- Preheat oven to 180C and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around 1/4 inch thickness and use the cookie cutter of your choice, transferring the cut outs onto your cookie sheets with an offset spatula
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or edges begin to brown
- If desired, press currants, gum drops or other candies into the candies while they’re still soft (within 1 minute of removing from the oven) and then allow to cool on a wire rack
You’ve GOT to make some gingerbread people, trees, reindeer, snowmen and other such Christmas ornaments this last week. To use them as Christmas tree ornaments, use a straw to poke a hole in the cookie cutouts before popping them in the oven (LOL I’m so bad at multitasking, typed office instead of oven at first) then string a ribbon through the cookies after they’ve cooled.