Tuesday 9 December 2014

Life Can Be Disappointing

I just made some gingerbread men today. Well, I made some men and other cookies to eat. The men need to be saved for the weekend when Hurricane and Tornado are coming over and we plan on decorating the men with icing, sprinkles and god knows what else. When it comes to cookie decorating, the boys are two fisted eaters.

I don’t make gingerbread very often. Okay, I can probably count the times I made it on the fingers of one hand. It is one of those things that I am just not very good at. Yes, I know, there is a very long list of things that I don’t excel at. I don’t even want to excel at gingerbread; I will be more than willing to be fair or even adequate.

The recipe I am using tastes pretty good and once cooked has a reasonable consistency. Once decorated with enough icing sugar and a fistful or two of sprinkles, no one will care what the original cookie looked like. No one cares but me of course. I know that you are probably saying to yourself that “I really don’t care about this at all, if I want to read a blog about baking I will find one.” That’s a fair point, and after I write this, I just may do the same thing myself.

The dough didn’t roll out as well as I had hoped it would and when I cut the men out of it, they came out of the cookie cutter as double and triple amputees. I don’t really feel sorry for them; their life will be short and probably humiliating once the boys get to decorating. The best they can hope for is to be hung on a tree for a few days and then have their heads bitten off. Life sucks if you are made of gingerbread.

I know there is a good recipe out there; I just have to find it. Mom made good gingerbread, but like a lot of her recipes, the key ingredients were kept locked in her mind and went to the grave with her. I am going to look through her recipe box, but I don’t have a lot of faith there will be anything worthwhile inside. To tell you the truth, I kept the box for the box.

This is the recipe I used and if you are just going for taste, it is pretty good.
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup shortening, melted and cooled
1 cup molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.

The search continues and I expect I will never find the perfect combination of ingredients. Life can be disappointing.

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