Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gingerbread, A Family Tradition

There are some things about Christmas that bring back memories from my childhood. Certain smells, a special song, or an ornament placed on the tree. It is amazing how these things can bring the memories back into our thoughts as clear as the day we lived them. I want my children to have similar memories when they are grown and look back on our family Christmases.

One specific memory I have is making gingerbread houses with my grandmother. She made the gingerbread from scratch, warm in the oven as we walked in the door and smelling like Christmas. Then we would look at the kitchen table covered in goodies like gumdrops, cinnamon dots, tiny candy canes, and every color of sprinkles a kid could dream of. We constructed the gingerbread house together, taking hours to decorate every nook and cranny of the house.

Then later in life my first date with my husband was decorating gingerbread houses. He was blown away by my decoration skills.

Now that I have children of my own we began the gingerbread tradition, making the dough together, rolling it out, and cutting little gingerbread men and women with green cookie cutters. We decorated the people and trees with raisins and cinnamon dots. The kids loved making little men and women, giving each of their cut outs names and telling a story of where they have been. Then while the cookies were baking the kids sat by the oven exclaiming how wonderful the kitchen smelled and how they couldn't wait to taste their gingerbread people. While we waited we read the book, "The Gingerbread Man." I think this is a tradition that will be carried on for years to come.

Gingerbread Recipe:

Beat together:
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
6 Tbls softened butter

Sift into a big bowl:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice

Add butter mixture to flour mixture and beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick on floured surface. Cut using your cookie cutter or form into squares for a gingerbread house. Decorate your cookies with raisins, sprinkles, or other cookie supplies. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes (should be slightly firm to the touch for softer cookies). Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

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