Gingerbread Cookies

Let’s let the cookie obsession continue with Gingerbread Cookies!

Gingerbreadcookies
As a kid, Christmas cookies weren’t really a tradition during the holidays for us. I think I remember my sister setting out cookies for Santa with me once, but I might be making that up in my head. I know Christmas cookie decorating is a normal thing in most households, but it didn’t really happen in mine. That’s what happens when you have immigrant parents, I guess?

But this year, since cookies are all the rage in my world, I decided to go all out and make Gingerbread cookies.

Allison from Sweet Potato Bites had a cookie party at her house, so I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to make them for.

I baked them in advance and made royal icing at her house for decorating.

Gingerbreadmen2
I spent a long time researching Gingerbread recipes, but I found this one from All Recipes to be best.  As usual, I made a few changes to the recipe, so here’s my version:

Gingerbread Cookies

adapted from All Recipes

3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk (or water)

In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer bowl), cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in some of the dry ingredients and then some molasses, maple syrup and almond milk, alternating wet and dry ingredients until all combined.   Chill the dough for a few hours (I made this a day in advance and chilled the dough over night).

gingerbreaddough1

Once you’re ready to make cookies, pre-heat oven to 350F.  On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Using your cookie butters of choice, cut out desired shape and place on a parchment paper lined baking dish.  Place a few inches apart on the sheet as they cookies expand a tiny bit when they bake.

Bake 8-10 minutes (this will vary depending on the type of cookie cutter you use and the size.)  Once they’re golden on the edges, they’re ready.  Don’t overbake them or they’ll be hard.  Allow to cool completely, then decorate with royal icing.

Gingerbreadmen1I had never decorated cookies with Royal Icing before.  I’m going to try it a few more times, really perfect it then do a blog post on it.

That means I’ll be making these cookies again.  I really liked these cookies because they weren’t hard.  The ones in an air tight container stayed soft for over 5 days.  However, if you like crunch gingerbread cookies, just leave these out a little longer to harden and you’ll get crunch cookies!

I have some ideas for the next Christmas cookies to make, but if you have a great recipe to share, please share it in the comments!

Easier-Than-Pie Creamy Pumpkin Pie

For Christmas, there are always a million dishes to make.  Usually, Christmas dinner is essentially a repeat of Thanksgiving.  But this year we decided to branch out, so this is our menu:

Usually, my sister and I share cooking duties.  This year, she is very pregnant and swollen.  The last thing we need is labor intensive desserts (even though I ordinarily love those).  But easy doesn’t mean it’s not tasty.

So if you’re in a similar situation (not necessarily pregnant, but just with a lot of cooking to do).  Here’s an easy and amazingly delicious dessert that’s perfect for any holiday celebration.

creamypumpkinpie2

Now, I’ll have to warn you. This is not your average pumpkin pie.  It’s not as dense as regular pumpkin pie, not to mention it’s in a graham cracker crust, which is unlike most pumpkin pies.  It’s creamy, almost like a light cheesecake but without the cheese.

If that sounds great to you, then give it a whirl.  If you’re apprehensive… give it a whirl.  I think you’ll love it.

creamypumpkinpie1

Easier-Than-Pie Creamy Pumpkin Pie

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp mace (or nutmeg?)
1 cup sour cream
1-2 tsp molasses
1/4 cup sugar
Candied ginger (optional, for garnish)

Melt butter and combine with graham cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup sugar.  Press into a 9-inch pie dish.  Place in the fridge/freezer until ready to use.

Pre-heat oven to 325F.

In a bowl, beat the yolks a few mins until slightly thick.  Beat in pumpkin puree.  Add spices and then beat in sweetened condensed milk.  Pour filling into prepared pie dish.

Bake 45 mins or until pie is no longer jiggly (this is clearly a scientific method, dating a biochemist will do that to you).   Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a separate bowl combine sour cream, molasses and sugar.  Spread over the pie and garnish with sliced candied ginger or any other cute looking topping.  Chill for a few hours in the fridge then serve.

creamypumpkinpie3

Well friend, off to my pre-holiday celebration with just me and the boyfriend.   You better believe I have this pie sitting in the fridge for dessert.

Merry Christmas!!