It's that time of the year again when the streets are lit beautifully. Every store you go, every place you visit, the spirit of the season is unmistakably infectious. It's the most wonderful time of the year is played almost everywhere and you cannot help but feel wonderful.
My (almost) 3 year old has now started understanding several things around him. And this season seems to be his most favourite yet. (Oh that is what I felt about Halloween too). His vocabulary nowadays has been widened with 'snowflakes', 'snowman', and of course, 'Santa Claus'.
The whole of yesterday, he was insisting that it was gingerbread boy and not gingerbread man while, to humour him, I was telling him otherwise. Kinda reminded me of the 'coffee - toffee' ad I heard growing up. Boy or man, these gingerbread cookies sure made our day so much more 'wonderful'. From the time I told him - 'let's bake some gingerbread cookies' to the time those cookies went into his little tummy, my restless li'l boy, though still restless, was the most well-behaved! He patiently waited as I was browsing for a recipe, was very careful when I was measuring the ingredients and used a lot of "please" when he wanted to help me cream the sugar and butter - something which he considers his job now! The two hours of wait time when the dough was in the refrigerator was the toughest for him but Dora, Diego and Team UmiZoomi came to his rescue. A couple of times, I did hear the fridge door opening but I blame myself for forgetting the safety lock.
When it was finally time to roll the dough, there he was, standing on his little chair, holding the little cookie cutter with a big smile on his face. His joy on my letting him cut a couple of gingerbread men left me so happy.
When the cookies were finaly done (he brought my attention to the beeping timer), "Amma, where are your oven mittens" took me by surprise.
When I was decorating the cookies he sat next to me instructing me where to put the eyes, the smiley etc - something he remembered doing in his school where they had to decorate a foam cut-out of a gingerbread man. Thank you gingerbread man, you sure made my day!
Recipe from here (with minor changes)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mollases (I used Grandma's brand)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder (I used only 1/2)
1 pinch nutmeg powder
1 cup Powdered sugar, 1 tbsp juice of lemon, water
Bring the butter to room tempertaure. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar. To this add molasses and egg and beat further. Scrape the sides as you beat .
In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and the spice powders.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Beat with the electric mixer for a few seconds till they combine well. The dough will be sticky. Knead a bit with your hands and refrigerate covered for 2 hours. [The dough may smell strongly of molasses but will be ok after baking. Also, make sure you refrigerate the dough for 2 hours otherwise it will be sticky when you work on it.]
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cookie sheet (baking tray) with parchment paper. Remove a small portion of the dough from the fridge (about 1/3rd).
Spread some flour on a clean countertop. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Spread some flour on top. With a cookie cutter cut into the desired shape. Arrange on the cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. If the cookies are thinner, bake for a shorter time. The edges should look done. The centre will be soft but will harden as the cookies cool.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Here's a simple icing that you could make in seconds. Just mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp juice of lemon and approx 2 tbsp water till you get a thick but flowing liquid. If it becomes too flowing, just add some more sugar.