This time of year, there ain't anything more happy then the smell of the holidays.
The wreaths are hung, the tree is lit - an' a home begins to take on that warm, old timey feelin' of being together, with folks gathering around warm apple cider and good food.
In my house, no holiday gatherin' would fer sure be complete, without fresh Gingerbread. And the smell of fresh gingerbread baking durin' the holidays gives that extra added layer of welcome when your friend, neighbor or long lost welcome relation arrives at your door to say howdy and stop in for a bite to eat with the family.
Me, I've got my Gingerbread recipe down pat, after years of tweekin' it so she just right. And I'd like to share it with you. So here, from my family to yours, is my Gingerbread recipe for you to use in your home.
Now, 'fore I go into the recipe, I'd like to let you know a few things.
First, if you want to make cookies, add the baking powder. Baking powder makes them lighter and helps make them a slight more chewy.
Second, if you want to make Gingerbread Christmas Tree ornaments or a Gingerbread House - don't add the baking soda- cause the Gingerbread will be too soft and it won't hold its form as good.
All that said, here is my recipe for Gingerbread:
5-6 cups of Flour
2 whole, large eggs
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup of sulphered or black-strap molasses
1/4 cup hot water
2 cups of sugar (you can use confectioners or regular - whatever you have handy)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, only add it if you like)
1 teaspoon baking soda
4-5 Tablespoons ground Ginger
3-4 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 pinch to 1/8 teaspoon of allspice
1) Combine the eggs, butter, molasses, sugar and all the spices into a mixing bowl.
2) Pour 1/4 cup hot water into the cup that held the molasses. Swirl the hot water around to get the left over molasses out. Pour it into the mixing bowl.
3) Add all the spices. Remember, Vanilla is optional.
4) If you're making gingerbread for a house or a ornament, DO NOT add the baking soda. If you're making gingerbread cookies, add it now.
5) Using a stand mixer, put the paddle attachment on. Turn the mixer on low speed to carefully incorporate the butter, sugar and other ingredients together. Gradually increase the speed on the mixer to high. Whip on high for 3-5 minutes or until the gingerbread takes on a light brown color. It will be noticeably different form the black color you first saw with the molasses.
6) Remove the paddle attachment and put the dough hook on the stand mixer.
7) Turn the mixer on low speed. Slowly begin to add the flour in - 1 cup at a time. Be careful to not add the flour too fast, otherwise you'll look like frosty the snowman! Trust me on this one ;)
8) After, you have added 5 cups of the flour, let the mixture churn well to incorporate all of the flour. With the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure no flour is stuck to the walls. Turn the mixer back on. If the dough still looks a little wet or too sticky - and depending upon the brand of flour it just might - add the remaining cup of flour - so much as you need to make the dough manageable.
9) Remove the dough from the bowl and put down on a cutting board.
10) You can use either flour on a board or confectioners sugar to keep the dough from sticking to the cutting board. So flour or sugar the board now.
11) Roll out the dough out into desired shapes. Cut. Make sure they are all the same thickness.
12) Bake in a preheated over at 350 for 10-14 minutes. Remove from the oven when the bottom edges of the cookies are just slightly brown.
13) Let cool.
14) Eat & Enjoy. Merry Christmas!