Gingerbread Man, Woman, Snowflake and Stars

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 I don’t have any childhood memories associated with gingerbread man or cookies. The only memories about Christmas are of getting 2 week of vacations after the semester exams. Sometime, we would get piece of cake as gift from our neighbors. I haven’t seen amma baking any stuff. However I want my princess and prince to have some childhood memories. Hence I decided to bake some ginger bread man. I was longing for long time.
Every Christmas I will think I will make it, but Christmas comes and goes, and I never made it. I like the fairy tale story behind the gingerbread man. Story goes like this” there was an old lady who baked ginger the bread man and wanted to eat with her husband. But after baking, the ginger bread man jumped right out of the baking tin and started to run. Rhyming this Run, run as fast as you can; you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man. Then he came across a pig, cow, and horse,  all of them wanted to eat gingerbread man. He escaped from all, singing the rhyme. However at one point he reached a river, and he wants to cross the river. One clever fox offered to help the gingerbread man to cross the river. However after crossing the river, the fox also eats the ginger bread man. He couldn’t escape from Fox singing his rhyme.  You can read this story from here
This Christmas I decide to keep my promise to myself. I baked gingerbread cookies, and used the entire array of cookie cutter available in my hand to make ginger bread man and woman, snowflakes and stars. Then comes the fun part, icing, I am still a novice on that part. So after looking at images all over the internet I came to know that I needed royal icing. One problem with royal icing is that it contains raw egg whites. I don’t want to give that to my kids. So I made a trip to Target and bought readymade icing. After coming home when I tried to do icing on my gingerbread cookies, it is not that easy as I thought, if I press nozzle in one direction, icing is going in the other direction. Then hubby tried to help me, and he also can’t figure it out. So I stopped icing extravagance.
Next morning I went to Michaels  and bought meringue powder. I made royal icing, and did my art work on the cookies. I left it alone in corner of my kitchen for icing to dry. My hubby did a very careful move of not touching them but wanted to take some water from the bottle that was nearby. He ended up breaking my dressed ginger bread cookies. I was very upset upon on the destruction of my ginger bread man and woman.
Finally I redid some yesterday and created this gingerbread man and woman, snowflakes and stars. I was amazed by the talents of a few bloggers who make them beautiful. If you ask me how did you do? I will say I did well according to my capabilities. Still there is room for lots of improvement. My daughter brought a ginger bread man craft from her Mother’s day out. I loved it so kept them along with my gingerbread man’s photo.
My gingerbread cookies are adaptation of two recipes, one from Joy of Baking and other from simply recipes. I used increased spices from Joy of baking recipe and added black pepper from simply recipe to get some kick; it took me three day to finish. First day I made dough and second day I cut out and made cookies and third day I did icing. My daughter helped me in rolling the dough. It is delicious not tooth breaking ginger bread cookies. But firm enough to hold the icing.
Here comes the recipe.
 First grab ingredients from the pantry both for gingerbread and frosting.
In bowl mix flour, spices, salt, baking soda and set aside. Cream butter and sugar and egg and mix everything once again. To this add molasses and mix everything. Then gradually add flour and spice mixture in three additions to form smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for chilling for about few hours to overnight.
Next day transfer the dough to well floured table and spread it into ¼ inch thick sheet, cut various shapes using your cookie cutter.  Chill the cut cookies until you ready to bake. Preheat oven to 350F and bake the chilled cut cookies for about 12 minutes.
Let cookies allow cooling in the cooling rack for about 1 hour. While prepare royal icing.
Transfer the icing into piping bag fitted with decorative tip. Start working with your imaginations.
Enjoy as much you want.

                                                                            Print Recipe
Gingerbread man, woman, snowflakes and stars
Adapted from Joy of Baking  and Simply Recipes
Prep Time    20 minutes
Chilling time: Overnight
Cook Time    12 minutes
Serves    6 – 8

Ingredients:
1 ½ cup All purpose flour
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/4+1/8 teaspoon Baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon  black pepper
1/4 cup   butter room temperature
1/4 cup  white sugar
1/3 cup  molasses
Royal Icing
2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon Meringue powder
4 tablespoon Water
2-3 drops rose water.

Directions
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.   Combine everything to form smooth dough.

Wrap the Dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least two hours or even overnight). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface transfer and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch sheet. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies.  With an offset spatula lift the cookies onto the baking sheet, placing about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer. (If cookies are a little soft, place the baking sheet (with the cookies) in the fridge for about 10 minutes. This will prevent the cookies from losing their shape.)

Bake for about 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you want you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. Store it in an airtight container.

Royal Icing: In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), mix powdered sugar, meringue powder and water and rose water to from frosting consistency of your choice. Tint frosting with food color, if desired. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.

Variations:

    • You can skip black pepper if you want and add spices of your choice.
 
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Comments

  1. says

    Cookies have come out perfectly. Even I wanted to bake some cookies, when I thought about decorating the cookies, just postponed the idea for now.. :)

  2. says

    I love both of them, they look great! I remember when I told the story to my school children. Poor gingerbread man. I’m going to copy the recipe.
    Best wishes and Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

  3. says

    Aw, such cute gingerbread men and women! I do not like icing cookies…so I admire you for doing it more than once! I’m sure your children loved these…mine would, too!

  4. says

    For your first time you did beautiful work Swathi! I haven’t heard the story of the gingerbread man in a long time – cute and funny. Love Nidhi’s gingerbread man. This is a great tradition for you to start.