Time for Gingerbread


Amelia Bachman, Writer

I don’t know everybody’s winter or holiday traditions but I do know that one of mine is to bake gingerbread cookies with my family, and this year it is coming early. This is another one of my recipes from the family book, and this recipe came from my great great grandma Vorhes so it is pretty old. My brother’s birthday is in November so my grandparents were going to come to celebrate with us and make the cookies, but the covid cases were rising and it might have been risky so instead we made them ourselves. My brother loves these cookies so even though it isn’t winter or December yet, he still wanted to make them.

 As usual, the first step of my baking is to get all of the ingredients out, in this case it is shortening, sugar, flour, salt, ginger, baking soda, molasses, water, cloves, and cinnamon. With this recipe you will need a mixer so remember to get one out before you start. The first step is to cream the shortening well, and add the sugar to beat it in, this will start to look like a grainy and thick substance. Next, you mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a separate bowl. You will then set that aside and mix the water and molasses together which will also be thick but still liquidy. When I was finished with both mixtures I then alternated pouring them into the mixture until they were both empty, it then looked way more like cookie dough, it had a thick consistency and was a darker brown color. One of my favorite things to do even with any cookie is to smell the dough, you can tell when it is just right or still getting there and it always smells amazing! 

After I know that the dough is ready whether it is the consistency, the look, the smell or if all of those, then I had to chill the dough until it was firm, this will not take all night though. You can do this all in the same day which is one of the reasons why it is a great cookie because it still takes time but you can do it all in the same day without being bored! Our fridge on the main floor is usually filled with other things for everyday foods, so I put my dough in a mini fridge in the basement. This also allows me to not get interrupted or shoved in the legs by my dog, who loves all foods and if you don’t know already from my other article, likes to jump on the counter! Once the dough had enough time to get firm and more stiff, the book gave instructions to divide the dough into two or three balls before rolling them. I then rolled one ball out on a floured surface, this was my counter until the dough was about ¼ inch thick. I would suggest when you flour the surface it should be on a countertop or on a table that doesn’t have tiny crevices that the flour can get stuck in. Once I rolled out my dough, I took a gingerbread man cookie cutter and pressed firmly on the top of the cutter into the dough and carefully removed it when I was finished. I kept repeating this step until I used up all of my dough. Also, a little tip for this step, to not waste a lot of dough, scrunch up the scraps again and roll it out once more to get a couple more cookies in! Another thing that our family likes to do when we finish shaping the gingerbread men is we place red hot candies on them to make buttons and eyes. This is optional for you if you make this recipe, but it makes them have more flavor and spice to the cookie. After I had completed the rolling and cutting steps, it was time to bake! For this recipe I used a cookie sheet with parchment paper, but there is also an option for greasing the sheet too. After placing the cookies on the sheets, I baked them at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Of course at high altitude, you have to bake them longer though. When I took them out they smelled delicious and like the holidays!