What gets you into the holiday spirit? For me, it's cookies! The cookie cutters, the decorating, the warm and spicy smell of Christmas baking tells me it's time to eat sweets and enjoy the lights on the tree. We tried a different gingerbread recipe this year and were not disappointed. The cookies are nicely spiced and the dough was easy to work with.
My little helper is always enthusiastic about baking desserts and was eager to help. He specializes in standing very very close on a step stool anxiously waiting to pour each measured ingredient into the mixing bowl.
In his eagerness, he missed the bowl entirely with the cup full of spices and poured them all over the counter top. He was obliged to stand back as I scraped them up and added them back to the mix. My resolve to bake together was momentarily shaken, but we moved on and added the flour with extra care. He was much more adept at cutting shapes and decorating them with candies the next day.
Spiced Dough for Gingerbread Houses, Men, Cutouts, Cookie Molds and Speculos
From Julia Child's Kitchen by Julia Child
1 stick (4 ounces) butter at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and 2 sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and keep beating for a few more minutes until it's even more light and fluffy. Add the spices and keep mixing until everything is whipped together thoroughly.
Gradually add the flour and keep mixing. If your mixer gets bogged down, you may have to finish incorporating the flour by hand. This will make a very stiff dough. Wrap it up in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out shapes. Transfer to parchment lined cookie pans and bake for around 15 minutes or until the edges are light brown. We decorated the cookies with candy and sprinkles before baking. You could also decorate with icing after baking.