Tastefully Understated Gingerbread Cookies
It’s extremely difficult to find a recipe for gingerbread cookies that doesn’t assume you want to bake in bulk. Merry Christmas.
3 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C / 1 stick butter
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp powdered ginger
3/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, plus 1 egg white for brushing
1/2 C molasses (unsulphured)
nonpareils (white or multicolored)
Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg and, after incorporated, the molasses. Stir vigorously until the mixture is uniform in color. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I usually omit this step if called for in a recipe, but it’s important when you have various minuscule amounts of spices. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, using a wooden spoon as far as it will take you, then kneading with your hands to form a dough. Wrap it up and stick in the fridge for an hour.
Set your oven to 350. Once you’ve cut out cookies somewhere in the 1/8″ thickness neighborhood (I assume I don’t need to walk you through flouring a surface and using a rolling pin), place them on sheets, spacing at least 1″ apart. Lightly beat the egg white and brush a thin film onto each cookie, then sprinkle with nonpareils. Bake single batches at 350 for 10 minutes, then leave them on the sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Seriously, use the rack; if you’re passing out warped cookies, you’d have been better off buying everyone a bag of Chips A’Hoy.
While baking is a wonderful activity to share with small children, we must don our USDA hats when preparing food intended for consumption beyond our immediate family. Tiny fingers are tempted easily by tiny nostrils, and every time you look away from your little angel, you risk adding nasal contents, hair, and a variety of other unsolicited enhancements to your ingredients list.
Billy the Kid has his own prep station next to, but clearly defined from mine, and he stands on a chair while we work to ensure that he can’t reach far enough over to contaminate my sterile field. When “we” make cookies, I give him a small piece of dough to play with and make his own for decorating. He seems to appreciate the independence, especially after I’ve given him the all-clear to start eating the scattered nonpareils. Once a child is old enough to process the yuck factor of germs, they can bake for an audience. Until then, I advise you to employ these or similar means of keeping adorable but potentially filthy hands off.