If I had to choose one favorite Christmas cookie, well, I couldn’t do it. But, if I could have a top ten, this gingerbread cookie would definitely be in it. The cookies and bars and treats that I call Christmas cookies are certainly just as delicious for any other occasion, but when the weather is cooler and the holidays are fast approaching, gingerbread somehow becomes a little bit even more delicious. How does it do that? The flavor just seems right at this time of year. This recipe comes from the Martha Stewart Cookbook, and the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses combine in a wonderful way. In the book, the recipe is called gingerbread cupids, and there’s a similar recipe available on the Martha web site called gingerbread snowflakes. The recipe online includes ground pepper, but it’s not part of the recipe in the book and I’ve never added it.
This dough is a little sticky even though I always chill it overnight before rolling, and I use a generous amount of flour on the board and rolling pin. On the bright side, once baked, the cookies retain their flavor and texture for several days if they last that long. I’ve also baked them in advance, frozen them, and then let them thaw before decorating. The cookies are fairly sturdy if stored carefully, but the sturdiness really depends on the shapes of the cookies. I made some reindeer, and I’m worried those slender legs could snap off easily.
I made a big batch this time, and I enjoy making the dough, rolling it out, deciding which shapes to make the cookies, and smelling the gingerbread as the cookies bake. Then, my energy seems to dwindle when it comes time to decorate them. When I was little, my favorite thing about cookies was decorating them. These days, I may have lost my cookie decorating creativity, but that’s where my nieces enter the picture. I’m going to send them a box of these cookies to decorate and see what cute ideas they come up with for all the different shapes.