I can’t believe it’s less than one week until Christmas! It really doesn’t feel like Christmas here in NC right now because there is NO SNOW. I have no idea what is going on but I don’t like it at all. Even so, I still have plenty of Christmas spirit and I’m in full-on baking mode this week, what about you?
Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of baking Gingerbread cookies with my Grammy. With the beautiful tunes of Brenda Lee, Vince Gill, and Burl Ives playing, we would sing along as we cut cookies into various shapes and topped them off with colored icing and sprinkles. It was so much fun; I miss my Grandmother very much this time of year. She made everything so much fun and memorable. I definitely inherited her love for Christmas (and baking).
Her gingerbread cookies were THE BEST. Soft, sweet, and always held their shape for whatever cookie cutter we chose (she had a TON of cookie cutters). I was super excited to find her recipe in my Mom’s cookbook last night as I was looking for something festive to make that would go along with our annual A Charlie Brown Christmas movie night. I may be the only person in my family who gets excited for this but I’m totally okay with that because it’s THE best.
If you look at my Grammy’s cookbook, you will see after looking at the first 3 ingredients of each recipe that she did not care about using healthy ingredients. Her food was AMAZING but it also contained ingredients like corn syrup, Crisco, white sugar, etc. This is how most people of her generation (and many today) cook. Like I said, their food is delicious, but there are ways to make things just a little healthier without sacrificing the taste at all.
I only made a few simple changes to this gingerbread cookie recipe like using Organic Shortening in place of Crisco and using Organic Cane Sugar in place of sugar. These simple changes made the cookies a little healthier and they were still AMAZING. I can’t lie, I ate enough dough for like 3 cookies and then I ate 2 more cookies when they came out of the oven. But that’s totally okay because I only get them once a year and I can splurge sometimes (we all deserve it)! The ingredients aren’t the best in the world considering I use flour and sugar, but I think there are some recipes you have to stay as close to the original as possible to achieve that amazing taste and texture. Plus it’s CHRISTMAS so why not right?!
After they came out of the oven, my boyfriend, Mom, and I started decorating the cookies with icing and sprinkles. It’s funny because I’m usually the least artistic out of the group, but this time I blew them both out of the water on my cookies (I was pretty excited, and may have bragged a bit too much). Luke’s cookies were a little scary looking (I think one was Frankenstein or something…not sure) and Mom’s…well we won’t even go there haha.
- 5½ C. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ginger
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 C. organic shortening
- 1 C. organic cane sugar
- 1¼ C. organic molasses
- 2 eggs
- 2-3 T. water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, mix together dry ingredients.
- Heat shortening on a stove-top until just melted, then set aside to cool.
- Add liquid ingredients (except the shortening) to the dry ingredients and mix well. Once shortening is cool, add to mixture and mix one again until thoroughly combined. (If dough is too dry, you may have to add a little more water).
- On a clean surface, put a generous amount of flour down, and put flour on a rolling pin as well. Form dough into a ball and place on surface.
- Roll dough ball out until it's about ¼-1/2 inch thick (depending on how thick you like your cookies). Cut into shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tops are browned.
- Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack for about 10 more minutes. They are then ready to decorate!
Go crazy with icing and sprinkles, and try not to eat too many before you finish decorating 🙂 Hope you enjoy this wonderful recipe with your family and have an absolute blast! A good cookie decorating contest is always a fun way to start the night with a little friendly competition! Don’t forget to share your gingerbread cookie picture on social media and tag @adancersplate or #adancersplate. Can’t wait to see your creations!