Apologies again for the sudden leap into the realm of Christmas cookies – but you’ll understand my premature sharing of gingerbread cutouts when I tell you I spent the afternoon decorating a hundred or so of them with Elizabeth Baird. (They were all baked from scratch this afternoon to decorate a tree that’s being auctioned off for the Stollery Children’s Hospital.)
But my favourites were the ones we spread with icing on the cuff, then immediately sprinkled with coarse coloured sugar, making it look like a band of sweet faux fur.
One of the CIN guests walking by took a photo of us through the window! Myself, Elizabeth, Emily and master mixologist Micah Dew. (In the reflection you can see our view – the trees around Lac Beauvert and the east face of Mount Edith Cavell – a nice spot to be baking cookies on a chilly afternoon.)
Classic Gingerbread Cookies
From Canada’s Best Recipes by Elizabeth Baird and Rose Murray (Whitecap)
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup fancy molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp each baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 tsp each cloves and salt
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in the molasses. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In three additions, stir the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture, stirring until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into 2 discs; wrap and chill until firm, about 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. On a well-floured surface, roll out one disc at a time to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out any shape you like and place them an inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until slightly darkened underneath and just firm to the touch, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool. (Make-ahead: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 1 month.)