Don’t you dare tell me that it’s after New Years and gingerbread season is over. Don’t even think it.
I will slap you silly.
Not really. I’d never slap you silly. I’m just not that kind of lady.
All the same, you can’t really attach a deadline to gingerbread. I say as long as it’s frosty outside…and IT IS…there’s more than adequate room for hot cocoa and a warm spiced cookie in your life.
Plus, I honestly still have a few cookie recipes from my holiday escapades to share with you. And I’m assuming you’d rather stare at pictures of cookies than bowls and bowls…and bowls of the detox cabbage soup I’ll be eating all week.
I know. Exciting.
I made gingerbread men for the first time last Christmas. They were sort of a pain in the rump because I kept amputating arms and legs and heads while trying to convert their doughy figures to a cookie sheet. Regardless, I fell in love…and despite my rather violent abusive tendencies towards them, I think they might have just loved me back.
Charming little dudes they were.
I do understand why gingerbread is an ideal Christmas cookie. It tastes happy.
Everything is supposed to taste or smell or feel or at least look happy during Christmas.
I think that was the original purpose of eggnog, so that even if you were actually quite miserable…after a few gulps, you and everybody else would be looking pretty darn holiday happy.
Generous portions of brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and molasses make these aromatic munchies the pinnacle of wintry comfort cookiedom.
And hold onto your hats, this recipe may happen to include a hint of orange for an added touch of citrus sunshine.
Ah man, I even feel cozy and jovial just talking about them. Rock on gingerbread, you shall ever hold my heart, all seasons aside.
I decided to try out a different recipe this year. I was initially attracted to it for a delicious looking rum glaze.. that I didn’t even end up making. Life’s like that sometimes.
You see this here dough-ball above? Yeah, this is the lump of love I smittenly popped in the fridge to chill for an hour, before I would roll it out into delightful little shapes that would make babies laugh and bluebirds sing.
I had no idea.
I’d love to tell you that I pulled out the dough and effortlessly extracted darling cutouts. All rainbows and sunshine.
Except that didn’t really happen. In fact, It was a rather ugly scene.
I was in a bathrobe, face partially made-up, hair maybe sort of halfway to a point of decency (note the out-of-place hairbrush stranded amongst cookie carnage), supposed to be walking out the door with a big fat happy platter of cookies in my hands within 40 minutes…and my dough was having a straight love affair with that foil. Issue? Yuh, I’d say so.
Let me just say though, this predicament was not the result of a flawed recipe. Rather, it was the result of my own blissful ignorance and not paying a lick of attention to what I was actually working with. This recipe yields a very sticky dough, that’s significantly more moist than what you would want for cut-out cookies. Also, just a sidenote, if you run out of parchment or wax paper…take 10 minutes and go buy more. Tin foil isn’t always an adequate substitute.
In the end, it all worked out just fine. I scraped all that could be scraped from the foil and dropped them by spoon-full onto cookie sheets. Fuss-free, no emergency gingerbread man surgery required. They turned out soft, slightly chewy, and delightful…almost like a gingersnap, minus the snap. With my peaceful gingersnaps cooling down, I successfully finished getting dressed in record time.
Bless holiday miracles.
Now, I guess if you really wanna keep tabs on the “holiday season” and the baked-goods within it, I’d still say these are totally appropriate cookies for the day…well, for me at least.
Today is my final day before classes and work recommence. Being the dweeb that I am, I’m a wee bit excited. Got my pencils sharpened my bag all packed.
We’ll see how long that lasts.
All the same, wish me luck, and I wish you happy baking…or happiness in your cabbage soup. Whatever it is your plate is looking like right now, enjoy it
Soft Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp grated orange zest
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 12 tbsp butter, cut into 12 pieces, slightly softened
- 3/4 cup molasses
**Note: I am including the method using a food processor here. However, with a little bit more muscle power, this can be done by hand. Being that I was without my large food processor…I can confidently assure you, it is possible. Take whatever route best suits you.
Preheat oven to 350 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place brown sugar and zest in the bowl of a food processor, process together until combined, about 30 seconds. Remove cover of food processor and add flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt; process until combined. Sprinkle the butter evenly over the dry ingredients and process until sandy; about 15 seconds. Add molasses and two tablespoons of orange juice; process dough until it comes together and is evenly moistened.
Place dough in refrigerator at least one hour or place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, until firm.
Once firm, scoop by spoonful and roll into 1 inch round balls. Place on prepared baking sheets spacing cookies 1 inch apart. Bake until centers are just set, 8 to 11 minutes. rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 5 minutes; using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.