There has always been one thing about Christmas I have NEVER understood. This ‘thing’ being the construction of a gingerbread house. First of all, why go through so much effort if you don’t actually get to eat the final product! I guess if you really wanted to, you could construct said house, then immediately come in with a wrecking ball, (being your mouth/stomach) and destroy it. But why would you just immediately destroy something you obviously just spent hours slaving away at?
“Lets build some condos!” (a lot of effort/time/money happens)
“Let’s destroy it now because we finished!” WHAT. WHY.
Effort+lots of ingredients+beautiful structure does not equal, EAT ALL THE GINGERBREAD RIGHT NOW. Lots of chemistry going on lately, and if you know what I mean, this equation ain’t balanced properly.
It has never been a tradition in my house to build gingerbread houses. The only time I remember decorating one at home was when my mother bought a kit from the grocery store, everything you needed being perfectly packaged up. The so called ‘icing’ that came with was definitely not strong enough to hold the house together, they clearly skimped big time on the candy, and the end product looked like something Hansel and Gretel would want to seriously run away from. Which I guess if you think about it is a good thing!
The only other time I constructed things with gingerbread was when my friend and I made a gingerbread train in foods class. Everything was going swell, if we forget the burning caramel glue, until we ran out of our designated icing sugar. Being the young bakers we were, we decided that flour would be a perfect replacement for icing sugar, and no one would be able to tell the difference! Right? Well….long story short, a VERY soggy train happened….SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS
Soooooo, I think I’ll just stick to the cookies and leave the houses for the more determined.
Now, gingerbread cookies have forever been a holiday tradition in my household, and has always been a group effort. This particular recipe I’m sharing has not been passed down through the family nor tried and true by my grandmother. It’s actually straight from good old Martha. But, you could say Martha Stewart has also been a family tradition. Pouring over past and present Christmas issues of her magazine is a normal sight during the season.
For these particular cookies, the dough was stirred together by Mother, (and the trusty Kitchen Aid) and baked/decorated by me! If you are wondering why the intense amount of cookies in the photos, a Graduation Bake Sale/Christmas Craft Crawl were happening.
I have to say that these are the best gingerbread cookies I have ever tasted. The fact that this same recipe has been baked in my house for as long as I can remember, during my favourite time of the year, may help out a little bit. Lets just say that Martha and her team sure know what they are doing!
I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I do!
GINGERBREAD CUPIDS–The Martha Stewart Cookbook
This recipe makes A LOT of cookies…so feel free to half it, quarter it, or store some in the freezer for later like we did!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 3 TSP ground ginger
- 1 1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 TSP baking soda
- 3/4 TSP baking powder
- 1/2 TSP ground cloves
- 2 TSP salt
- 1 1/2 cups molasses
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth.
Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add them to the butter mixture, beating until well combined. Stir in the molasses and beat well.
Divide the dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap; chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
On a well floured surface, roll out each dough quarter to 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut dough into desired shapes. Carefully place them on parchment-lined baking sheets using spatula.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges just begin to colour. Let cool on racks, then ice with royal icing. (Below)
ROYAL ICING–The Martha Stewart Cookbook
You may need to make more than one recipe of this, depending on how many cookies you have. Just start with one recipe though, or you’ll have a lot of crusty, drying icing on your hands.
- 1 egg white
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 1 cup icing sugar
Whisk together all ingredients until it has the consistency of heavy cream. More icing sugar may be needed. Divide into bowls and colour desired colours! Use immediately.