The week between Christmas and New Year’s is, to me, fair game for all things holiday. If it’s still acceptable to leave your Christmas tree up, it is equally as acceptable to watch those sappy holiday movies before they disappear from your Netflix queue. And bake cookies. Which really is okay any time of the year, but most especially during the holidays.
One thing I really want to focus on this year is inviting Liam to participate in whatever I’m doing. He always surprises me at how much he understands and can do. So even if it takes 10 times as long or even if it makes a total mess, I want to give him these opportunities to learn.
Cookies were definitely on the list, but life has just been so busy that we almost didn’t get to it this year. I can’t remember the last time I made gingerbread cookies, but I thought it would be a fun recipe to start with since they come out looking like little people and don’t require any major fanfare if you choose.
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter or margarine*
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground ginger
5 c. all-purpose flour
After we painstakingly waited for the butter to soften, we combined the sugar and mixed until smooth. Then we added the eggs and molasses. All the dry ingredients were mixed in a separate bowl and then we slowly added them to the wet mixture. After the dough is mixed, it needs to chill for several hours in the fridge. Liam’s still taking a long nap in the afternoon (probably because I keep catching him up at 2 a.m. reading books in his room), so we actually mixed up the cookie dough the night before we planned to make the cookies. I split the dough up and refrigerated them in flattened portions overnight.
The next morning, we took out the cookie dough and rolled it out on a lightly floured surface. Then we cut out our little gingerbread men. We even made small gingerbread giraffes with some of the leftover dough. I’m not sure which Liam liked better – the final product or eating the raw cookie dough (which I don’t recommend, but he’s two so sometimes you just have to deal with it) and spreading flour all over the kitchen floor.
He had a blast. The joy on his face was enough to fill up my mama love tank, even though I knew I’d have a big load of laundry and a kitchen to clean afterwards. Totally worth it.
*Liam is dairy-free, so I like to use Earth Balance’s soy-free baking sticks. Although the baking sticks say that one stick equals 1/2 cup of butter, they generally measure at 7 Tbsp. instead of 8 Tbsp. like a regular stick of butter. I always add in an additional Tbsp. from another stick in order to make it a full 8 Tbsp.