Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Baking: Gingerbread Men

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them. – Bob Dylan

Sweet tasting memories.

We may not be able to physically relive our memories, but we can most certainly maintain them and make new ones. These cookies remind me of growing up and Seamone’s Bakery in Liverpool.

We used to go grocery shopping on Fridays in Liverpool on the South Shore. There was a bakery on Market Street run by Mr. Seamone.

It was an old Victorian storefront with wide glass windows and a recessed entry. When you opened the door you were surrunded by counters on three sides, filled with freshly baked goodies.

In the bakery was all manner of homemade breads, rolls and sweets. Three treats that I remember are the fantastic “egg tarts,” sugar cookies and these delicious little men.

The gingerbread men stood out because they had no fancy decoration. The eyes and buttons were nothing more than red food colouring. But in our eyes they were decked out in gold.

Slightly firm and slightly spicy they were a treat for us on the drive home, if we were good while Mom and dad were shopping. We had to have something to occupy us on the half hour drive.

The bakery and its recipes are long gone, but the happy memory remains. Baking these cookies is a way for me to reconnect with happy times gone by.

I’m posting this today because this is a perfect activity to do with your kids this weekend. The dough takes next to no time to mix up. If you have things you need to do put it in the refrigerator and when you come back roll it out and bake.

We had company last night and baking the cookies made our dessert. It was fun and fast and made the house smell like a home. Two dozen cookies didn’t last very long either.

There’s one lonely gingerbread man left. And he’s soon to join his friends!!

By the way, gingerbread men, although fantastic for the holidays, would be happy to make an appearance in your kitchen any time of the year.

Gingerbread Men
Prep: 10 min  |  Refrig: 1 hr  |  Roll and bake: 30 min  |  Yield 24-28

1/2 cup butter or mararine
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 cup fancy molasses 
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
red food colouring

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the molasses and egg and beat again.

Next add the salt, baking powder, baking soda and all the spices. Stir to combine.

Add the flour, one cup at a time, beating it in well after each addition.

Scrape all the dough onto some plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Dust a rolling board with flour. Roll the chilled dough out to about 1/4” thickness and cut out with a cookie cutter. Arrange on a baking sheet, with a little space in between. The cookies will spread slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit on the tray for 2 minutes, then remove to a rack. Do not stack the cookies while warm or they may stick together.

In a few minutes the cookies will firm up.

Bring any remaining dough together, re-roll and cut until all the dough is used.

To decorate add 3 drops of red food colouring to 2 tablespoons of water. Dot the cookies with a small paint brush for eyes and buttons.


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1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who still makes egg tarts. Mom always made gingerbread men for us at Christmas. I have them on my list to make next week. But they also bring back memories of an older couple who lived next door when we were kids and she used to make them, we always seemed to visit when they were in the cookie jar.