Saturday, December 22, 2012


Gingerbread cookies…who doesn’t like them? Or enjoy decorating them? Every year at Christmas I bake gingerbread cookies in all shapes and sizes for the kids to decorate. Which they do with gusto, using the colored icings I make and decorations I scout out at various stores.

Caitlin, Megan, and Phil.

Caitlin said she waits all year for this activity. I’m glad that through this favorite of family traditions, I’ve given my children memories they will always cherish, that they anticipate with such joy.

Ryan ans Megan decorating.

And this one is especially precious to my heart, because it all began when *I* was a child.

My mother would prepare the cookies, icings, and decorations, and my siblings and I would decorate them while listening to Christmas music.

One album we loved especially that was a staple on our phonograph was by the Do Re Mi Children’s Choir. When my girls were young I acquired this same “album” by this choir, only on cassette tape. And continued the tradition even more fully by playing it while my children decorated cookies.

The recipe I use is the same one my mother used, called Molasses Cookie Cutouts.

Molasses Cookie Cutouts
2 c. flour                       
½ tsp. salt                      
½ tsp. baking soda        
1 tsp. baking powder            
1 tsp. ground ginger           
1 tsp. ground cloves               
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ c. shortening
½ c. sugar
½ c. molasses
1 egg yolk

Cream shortening and sugar; beat in molasses and egg yolk. Sift dry ingredients together and add, stirring well with wooden spoon. Sprinkle flour lightly on the table and roll out about ¼ inch thick. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet about 8 minutes in 350° oven.

The icing is very simple. Take four cups confectioner’s sugar and mix in 2-3 Tbl. Water, first 1-2 Tbl., then by the teaspoonful. It needs to be thin enough to spread, but thick enough to stay on the cookies. Divide it into five bowls, and add two to three drops of food coloring to make red, green, blue, and yellow (the fifth bowl is for white).
Timotheus concentrating.
                                                                Besides the usual Christmas cookie decorations like colored sugars and multicolored jimmies, we have used tiny gummy bears, cinnamon hearts, mini M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, licorice whips, small spice drops, tiny marshmallows, and “silver” balls. The sky is the limit when it comes to your choice of decorations, and also to children’s creativity.
I am so glad my mother started this tradition with me and my siblings; it was so special I just had to share it with my own children. My own cherished memories were the catalyst for making precious memories for them, traditions becoming anchors in this sometimes confusing, chaotic world we live in. It’s just a special kind of magic we mothers have. Thank you, Momma.

The last of the cookie dough, also known as
the Monster Cookie. The leftover decorations
on someone's plate are dumped on top. ;)


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