It’s that time of year again! That time when my huge family converges on the house and bakes gingerbread cookies in a marathon all-day event. So much to do–shop for ingredients, make sure all the cookie pans and rollers and cookie cutters are clean and ready! Organize drinks and food for all of our cookie makers. So much to do.
So, of course, yesterday I spent the day cleaning my garage. I have a thousand things to do, but for some reason I got it in my head that the garage needed to be cleaned. Weirdo.
If you followed my blog way back when it was on Blogspot, you probably know a little about the Stewart Family Cookie Tradition. Yes. All caps.
Just like your cookie tradition, our gingerbread cookies need copious amounts of powdered sugar, food coloring, candy, and people’s messed up imaginations. We use normal candy like M&M’s, Red Hots, sprinkles, tiny colored marshmallows, and also stuff that has no place near a gingerbread cookie. Like my daughter’s saliva.
Good thing cookies aren’t judged on their deliciousness, just their appearance.
There’s one overall winner, and that’s the coveted title, but everyone’s a winner at casa Stewart when it comes to gingerbread cookies. Seriously, I just make up awards like, “Best use of the color blue.”
Uhm, yeah, things often get a little weird. That’s why I only shared the respectable cookies. This year we’re adding to our cookie extravaganza with 32 different colors. All named after family or some weird anime reference that I don’t get. Here are a couple family examples. For my brother-in-law Joe there’s Meet Joe Black. Yes, the color is black. For my nephew Ben there’s All About the Benjamins. Yes, the color is green. There’s one tagged, “Navy Blue but we love the Marines too” for my brother-in-law David, a former Marine.
Not sure 32 colors will make the cookies any more creative, but I can guarantee people will put a lot of effort into their creations. That’s pretty much how it goes. One cookie you spend a great deal of time on and a hundred cookies that are slapped together in an attempt to get them all done. Because the last ingredient you need for gingerbread cookies is stamina.
Decorate, decorate as fast as you can, you can’t stop making the gingerbread men. Things are going to get messy, loud, and competitive. I’ve never seen cookie sabotage, but trash talking your competitors’ cookies is pretty much the norm. Since I’m the judge, I get all of the trash talk directed my way. It’s pretty hysterical.
So how can you get in on this crazy fun? Well, follow the gingerbread recipe below, double or triple it, and free up your imagination. And an entire day. I want to see blood, sweat, and tears on those cookies! Not really. Don’t even use saliva. It’s disgusting.
Brown Sugar: ¾ Cup (Double or triple for a really good time!)
Butter: 1 Stick
Eggs: 2 Large
Salt: ½ Teaspoon
Dark Molasses: ¼ Cup
All-Purpose Flour: 3 ¾ Cups (Feel free to use gluten free here)
Ground Ginger: 2 Teaspoons
Baking Soda: 1 ½ Teaspoon
Nutmeg: ½ Teaspoon
Powdered Sugar: 1 Cup
Heavy Cream: 2 Tablespoons
Sour Cream: 1 Tablespoon
Butter: 2 Tablespoons
Food Coloring: Lots!
At low speed mix the sugar and butter until they are yellow goodness. Drop in the eggs. Blend. Add molasses. Blend. At this point the ingredients look like something someone would have to force feed you. Not to worry, it will all work out in the end. In a separate bowl add your dry ingredients. Mix them together by hand. Add them to the other ingredients with the blender on low. Do this slowly. Trust me on this. Flour flies.
After you’re done, put the stuff in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator for an hour. You can also make the recipe the night before and leave the ingredients in the fridge overnight. My daughter swears the dough chilling overnight is much better. But this year, it’s the two hour fridge version, since I cleaned my garage yesterday and eneded up at the grocery store at nine at night.
Basically, you just want the dough to be chilled enough to work with. When you’re done this step, preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Take a handful of dough, roll it out until about 1/8 inch thick. Some people like it to be thicker, some thinner. Find your own way here. Once rolled out, cut out the shapes with cookie cutters or use your own mad skills to make shapes. Bake. Frost. Create. Have fun!! I’ll post some pictures after the holiday!