You guys, it snowed in Texas yesterday! I mean, what a way to end my first holiday theme week of posts. It’s finally starting to feel like winter/the holiday season here, and I’m freaking thrilled. But, I digress. This post isn’t about Texas weather. It’s about the third–and last–installment of Cookies for Santa! Rounding out the week? A holiday classic: Gingerbread.
I will admit that when I was planning these posts, I struggled a bit to find a third option. Not because there aren’t a plethora of ideas–quite the opposite. I wasn’t really sure what else would inspire me. I’ve made snickerdoodle a hundred, million times before; it’s one of mine and my dad’s favorites. The chocolate peppermint was a bit self-indulgent–or ya know, entirely for me. But I wasn’t sure what else to add to the list. I wanted something holiday-esque for the theme, and something a little outside the norm for me. When I thought about it, gingerbread seemed like the obvious choice.
Gingerbread is to the holiday season as pumpkin is to fall. They go pretty much hand-in-hand and people go crazy over the stuff. I mean there’s the cookies, the men (and women) cookies, and, of course, the houses. Side note: I’ve only ever made gingerbread houses once or twice in my life, but both times were a hell of a lot of fun. But just like pumpkin, I don’t actually love gingerbread the way other people do. I don’t go crazy for it, I don’t crave it, and I definitely have never baked it.
And yet, here we are. Why? Because I’m trying to try new things and push myself outside of my culinary comfort zone. And because this is a flavor that will not be denied during this time. So, I gave in. I baked it. And it turned out pretty damn well if I do say so myself! In fact, many who I pushed these cookies on (read: my roommates) said this was their favorite of the three I baked for Santa (but actually my roommates).
Here’s what I love: Yes, the ginger is the strong central flavor in this cookie–obviously. It’s so strong in fact that when you open your cookie jar, you’re welcomed with a waft of ginger smell. However, it is not the only flavor that comes through. There are so many spices in this dessert that the ginger just sort of blends into. And they all complement each other beautifully. I also love that even though there’s quite a bit of sweetness in this (oh, heyyy molasses), it isn’t a sweet cookie. It’s spicy, robust, somewhat salty, a little savory, and then a little sweet. Actually the only thing I would change is to add some white chocolate chips to maybe make it a bit sweeter. But hey, that’s just me–I like things filled with sweetness to the brim–like this.
As always, making this delicious Christmas treat is pretty standard: Create a flour mixture with all of the spices whisked in. Cream together butter and sugar to start the dough. Then add the egg and molasses and mix until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the floury goodness until you get a firm dough texture. Bake on a cookie sheet and then cool. For a little Christmas touch, top it off with some powdered sugar (very slight) just to give it a snowy feel. Happy accident: When I mixed the batter, it came out a little swirly. So when I scooped the cookies onto the baking sheet–a little haphazardly, I admit–it baked in kind of a swirl pattern. I dig it, and completely suggest it.
Y’all, that concludes Cookies for Santa week. I hope that you and yours find something to share with your family and friends. Use these ideas for your own Christmas baking. Put together cute little bags or boxes and give them out to friends and/or coworkers as gifts. Or, ya know, keep them fresh in a cookie jar and just indulge in some treats for yourself year round. Whatever you do, I hope you loved trying these cookies. Just remember, come Christmas Eve, to put some out for the big guy. Next up: Small Treats, Big Gifts week.
If you tried all of these recipes, definitely tell me. I’d love to know which was your favorite or how you changed them for your tastes!
- 3/4 cup butter at room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 cup powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and all the spices. Set aside.
In a stand mixture cream together the butter and sugar until fully combined. Mix in the egg until incorporated. Add the molasses and mix thoroughly. Gradually add the flour-spice mixture to the mixer in batches until a dough forms.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Top with powdered sugar, and serve for Santa!