2016-12-22 / From The Garden

The Gingerbread Man Tradition

By Cynthia Gibson

Ginger is a root, native to China with a peppery, flavorful taste. Gingerbread as we know it was transformed into an art in the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I takes responsibility for decorating gingerbread and forming it into shapes of animals and flowers and even people in her court and then decorating them with silver and gold leaf.

The iconic gingerbread man with his broad smile and three buttons was crafted in Germany in the 1800s.

There is still time to make a batch of homemade gingerbread men for gift giving. This recipe is very simple. And, if you leave cookies for Santa, psst, gingerbread men are his favorite!

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Makes 2½ dozen cookies
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup non-sulphured molasses
One large egg
2 tbsp. warm water
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground all spice or ground clove
One bottle of red hots, cinnamon
candies for decoration
White icing of your choice
Sugar sprinkles (optional)
Gingerbread man cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 3500

Cream the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Add the molasses, egg and water and continue mixing on medium speed. In a separate bowl mix, together all the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl.

Remove the dough and divide it in half. Knead each half separately for two or three minutes, wrap in wax paper and place in refrigerator for one hour.

Sprinkle flour on counter or large cutting board, and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough. Cut out the gingerbread men and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them for 7-10 minutes. Watch so they don’t burn. Let cool, and decorate, an essence of Christmas.

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