Category Archives: Christmas

Make Your Own Gingerbread House: Part 2 Decorating

Merry Christmas!!!

Finishing our Gingerbread House on Christmas Eve wasn't what I had planned, but it was fun!

How to Use Necco Wafers on Gingerbread House

 If you missed how to bake and construct your own Gingerbread House, click HERE.

Gingerbread House

And here's the full scene.  Gingerbread House with Chimney, Candy Walkway with Bridge, Gum Drop Snowman, and Dog House with Dog and Doggie Poo.   Oh yes, and snow.

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If you're in a hurry, or have little patience, make sure to have a large tip on hand to pipe large amounts of icing quickly.  And have a smaller tip for smaller areas.

Gingerbread House 1

We used Necco wafers in overlapping rows for the shingled roof (below).  We used broken wafers for a stucco look on the front (above).  The large peppermint poles that look like barber shop poles are Bob's Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candy.  The candy canes at the door are just classic candy canes.  The pathway to the house is made with Nerds and AirHeads Extremes Sweetly Sour Belts. The shutters on the window are fruit slices.

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To make the shingled roof, pipe a large stripe of icing and smoosh the wafer in.  Make sure to start at the bottom of the roof, then add an overlapping row with the new row of wafers placed in between the row below. 

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The sides of the house are decorated with Air Heads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts.  They are super easy to cut and paste on the side of the house.  Use your small tip to place a thin stripe of icing on the side of the house where the strips will go, or place the icing on the back of the strip.  Just don't use the smooshing technique here.  You want a clean look.

I was short on time, short on icing, and short on ideas for the back of the house. So I used the small tip to pipe some random icing on the back, like this ….

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…then I cut large marshmallows in 4 slices each, dipped the sticky side in sugar, and stuck the other side against the house (see below for the marshmallow look and above to see how little icing you need for it all to stick). Once all the marshmallows are on, you can continue to use your small tip to fill in the exposed areas with more icing. 


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I used Raisinettes for the chimney.  Cut them in half with a sharp knife and be careful of the crumbs.

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Twizzlers would also be good for the roof.  We used them below for the dog house.  The photo below shows the back of the houses.

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And this is the front of the dog house 

Gingerbread Dog House from Graham Crackers

Alyssa made this dog house out of graham crackers.  The candy canes are from CVS drug store, and were surprisingly easy to cut fairly cleanly.  She made a dog by cutting up a large marshmallow or two, and covering it with frosting. The eyes are Nerds, the ears and "poopy" pile are Santa's Coal Bubble Gum, which I bought at CVS drug store.

Gum Drop Snowman Necco Wafers Gingerbread House
And here's a little snow man made of gum drops, icing and Nerds.  Finish it all of by slapping on lots of icing on the base, using a rubber spatula.  Work quickly – it dries fast. While it's wet, sprinkle plain white sugar (lightly), or use edible, clear or white cake sparkles to look like glistening snow.

Good Luck!

Martha Stewart’s Iced Hermits

Iced Hermits or Ginger Bars

 Iced Hermits could also be called Iced Ginger Bars.

Crystallized Ginger. Raisins. Molasses.

Fun to make.

 

Iced Hermits

Fun to stack.

Martha Stewart's Iced Hermits

And fun to get a kid's eye view of.

 


Iced Hermits

Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart's Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small squares

For the Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking sheet
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup chopped candied ginger, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup raisins

For the Icing

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar, plus more if needed

Make bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cloves in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugars; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and yolk, and molasses. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup candied ginger and the raisins.

Spread dough evenly onto prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until firm, 18 to 22 minutes. (Mine took only 18 minutes). Let cool completely in baking sheet on a wire rack.

Make icing: Put brown sugar, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar. If icing is too thick to drizzle, stir in more milk, a teaspoon at a time. If icing is too thin, stir in more confectioners sugar, a teaspoon at a time. Let cool slightly.

Drizzle bars with icing; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup candied ginger. Let stand until icing has set, about 15 minutes. Cut into 2-inch squares. Bars can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

Vegan Roll-And-Cut Sugar Cookies

Vegan Sugar Cookies

I was very curious to find out what vegan sugar cookies would taste like and crunch like.  They are very good, very crunchy, and as I like to say, Not Cloyingly Sweet.

I sprinkled some with sanding sugar, and some with cinnamon sugar, since that's what Jillian requested.  The cinnamon sugar caramelizes just enough to crackle the top and look rustic. 

 Dairy-Free Sugar Cinnamon Cookies

The sugar cookies make a better presentation.  My shapes included ribbons (as in pink ribbons), flowers, teapots, elephants, donut shapes, donut holes, and finally, the State of Ohio.  We live about where the bottom-most, left sprinkle is – not the dark sprinkle.  That's a rogue black sprinkle from another cookie.   

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The dough is much softer than a regular sugar cookie dough.  I was able to push the dough in a Springerle form, but once it baked, you could barely tell the cookie had a design at all. 

The dough is also sensitive to overworking.  So the trick is to try to roll the dough out once, and be very efficient with how you use your cutters.  When you gather the remaining dough and re-roll it, it's those cookies that are a bit chewier.

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My elephant, teapot and state of Ohio shapes turned out great, but the most crispy was the ribbon because the hole in the middle allows for more crisp edges.

Icing would also be nice.  Maybe next time.

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 Vegan margarine on the left, vegan shortening on the right.  Whole Foods. 

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Roll-and-Cut Sugar Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN COOKIES depending on the size of your cutters

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tesaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, slightly softened
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond, lemon, maple, or other flavor extract (I used lemon extract)
1/4 cup vanilla nondairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk)

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use electric beaters to cream together the margarine, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy, at least 4 minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.  Beat in the vanilla extract, the flavor extract, and the nondairy milk to combine.  Beat in half the flour mixture until moistened, then carefully mix in the remaining flour mixture to form a soft dough.

Divide the mixture in two and pat into discs about 1" thick. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Lightly flour a large, clean work surface.  Roll the dough to a 3/8" thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  If the dough seems too stiff to roll or cracks too much, let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, then try rolling again.  Pull away excess dough and use a thin metal spatula to carefully lift cookies onto cookie sheets, leaving an inch of space between cookies.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies have just started to turn golden around the edges.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on sheets for 5 minutes before using that spatula again to transfer them to wire racks.  Use only completely cooled cookies for decorating or filling.  Store in a tightly covered container for softer cookies; store loosely covered for crisper cookies.

Cinnamon Variation: Brush dough cut-outs lightly with non-dairy milk and sprinkle withcinnamon sugar mixture (3 Tablespoons sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Bake until edges are golden, but not too brown.  Start checking at 6 minutes (although mine took 10+ minutes on convection setting).

Fleur de Sel Toffee

Fleur de Sel Toffee

Sometimes I spend a lot of time and effort on a meal or recipe and it doesn't work out for one reason or another.  Whether it's the recipe or the cook, being hurried, not having the right equipment, not planning ahead… it happens. 

But this new recipe was a happy moment.  I did become highly frustrated at the person who evidently "submerged" my candy thermometer in water.  Condensation covered the little red line, so the candy was bubbling and seemingly burning as I tried to guess the temperature … but it still (amazingly) worked out.

Gave this as a gift to friends at work.  Tastes like a lightly salted Heath bar, without the chocolate.

Jenna's Tips:  I poured this candy into a half sheet rimmed baking sheet, sized approximately 13" x 18".  Perfect size, however some of my baking sheets are bowed from oven heat.  I didn't consider this and my candy was slightly thinner in the middle of the pan, and slightly thicker on the edges.  Choose one that is completely flat to get even pieces.

Also, the recipe doesn't mention how much salt to use.  I believe I used about 1 Tablespoon, or slightly more, over the whole surface.

Fleur de Sel Toffee
Compliments of JennaDish

from MarthaStewart.com

MAKES 2 POUNDS (two 6" diameter x 3" high gift tins)

Vegetable oil, cooking spray
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Bring butter, sugar, water, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan, whisking frequently until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Cook, undisturbed, until mixture registers 300 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 12 minutes.

Whisk toffee mixture, then immediately pour onto prepared sheet, tilting pan to spread over entire surface. Let stand for 30 seconds, then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Let cool. (Do not move the pan for first 30 minutes.) Break toffee into pieces. Toffee will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.

 

Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake

 

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake Lights

Christmas Spiced Flourless Chocolate Cake II

Popped into the Walnut Hills Library to renew my library card.  Spotted Nigella Christmas propped up on a display.  Grabbed it. 

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake
Found this cake recipe and couldn't wait to try it.  So I decided this would be my offering for the church Christmas Party.  

Tasted great.  Would do a few minor things different next time.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake III
Here's what it looked like the next day.  This is a flourless chocolate cake, made with 6 eggs.  So it's like a cross between a brownie (top) and a custard pie (bottom).  And just like many cakes and pies, it can be better the next day.  You can pick this up and eat it like a brownie.  You make it in a 9" spring form pan.

Notes to Self
1) Serving the cake on the bottom of the spring form pan with wet parchment paper left on bottom works fine, but is not the greatest when taking to a party.  People who don't understand this cake will likely think it's soggy and maybe even underdone. To resolve:  Plate the cake.  Flip the cake after it's cooled enough, remove the parchment, place on flat serving plate.

2) Caramelized almond slivers stick together in clumps.  Makes a pretty presentation but impractical for cutting through them.  You can easily scoot them over and cut the cake, but other ideas are:  when ready to serve, take the cake into the kitchen, remove the clumps of glued-together almonds, slice all the cake and place on plates.  As it's time to serve each person, plop some whipped cream on each piece and top with the almonds.  Or slice the cake without the almonds on it while leaving it on the serving plate, then toss the almonds back on.  

3) The batter leaks a bit through the bottom.  To resolve:  When preparing pan, before pouring batter in, put the pan on a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom and come up over the seams about 2 inches.  Form the foil around the bottom tightly.

Some prep photos…

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Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Christmas 

MAKES 10-12 SLICES

Nigella recommends serving with Cointreau Cream – whisk 1 cup heavy cream until softly whipped, with about 3 Tablespoons of Cointreau Cream (or Triple Sec or Grand Marnier).

For the Cake:
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 stick plus 3 Tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
pinch of ground cloves
zest of 1 clementine (I used 2 teaspoons granulated orange peel)
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder

For the Topping:
juice of zested clementine (I used 3/4 the juice of an orange)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Bring eggs to room temperature (cover in bowl of warm water for 10 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350o. Butter or spray the sides and cover the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper.  Cover the bottom of the pan with foil and bring half way up pan to keep batter from leaking onto oven floor.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave or on the stove top in a double boiler or similar method.  Set aside.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussy.  They should have at least doubled in volume.  Using a stand mixer makes this much easier.

Gently fold in the almond flour, cinnamon, cloves, clementine zest and espresso powder, taking care not to lose the air you have whisked in, then add the melted, slightly cooled, chocolate and butter, folding gently again.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.  The top will have a have firmed while the underneath will still be gooey (but you won't know what the bottom is like until later.)

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  

To make the almond topping, put the clementine juice into a small, non-stick frying pan with the butter, sugar and cinnamon and melt everything together over medium low heat, then let it sizzle for a minute or two in order to caramelize before adding the almonds.  Keep stirring over until the extra liquid (beyond what is clinging to the nuts) has disappeared.  Gently scoot almonds onto a plate or wax paper, not allowing them to clump  all together because once they cool, they will be glued together in this pattern.

Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan before releasing the spring pan.  Once cooled enough, flip the cake over on a plate upside down, carefully remove the bottom of the pan from the gooey cake bottom, place a flat plate against the bottom and carefully flip the cake upright on the plate.  Sprinkle with almond mixture.

MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the cake up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container. Make the nut mixture and store on parchment paper in a ssmall airtight container or wrap in a loose bag of foil.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP:
Freeze the cake up to 1 month ahead Thaw overnight in a cool room.   

 

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Cake
I wish I had a better picture, but it just didn't work out that way. 

This is marbled simply because the last step is to pour hot water with baking soda into the very thick batter and mix until just combined.  Well, it would take a lot of mixing for it to actually be fully combined and I didn't want to overmix it.  So in it went.  Didn't make a bit of difference.

This cake had a deep flavor.  Was not overly sweet.  Just right.  Would be great with whipped cream or ice cream.  The only thing I would say is that I'm not sure the crystallized ginger was necessary – I didn't care for the little bits. 

Gingerbread Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from the Food Network

Softened unsalted butter, as needed
1 cup vegetable oil, like soy, peanut, or corn (I used peanut oil)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsulphured molasses
1 to 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger (I used 2-3)
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten with a fork
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup water
1 tablespoon baking soda
Serving suggestions: Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Lightly butter a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, molasses, and crystallized ginger. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Whisk the molasses mixture into the flour mixture until evenly combined.

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. Whisk the hot water into the batter until just combined. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake in the center of the oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake Nigella Kitchen
I just bought my first Nigella Lawson cookbook, Nigella Kitchen.  Prior to this Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, I've only made one Nigella recipe, Apple Cinnamon Tea Cake and it was awesome.  I need to make it again, actually. CORRECTION: the apple tea cake was not a Nigella recipe.  It was a Donna Hay recipe. 

This loaf cake was equally tasty and would be especially great around the holidays because of the mix of chocolate and citrus.  A little reminiscent of other fruited breads and cookies you run into in November and December. 

HOWEVER, I am not a big fan of the sunken loaf, which is exactly what can be expected from this recipe.  Here's what Nigella and company have to say to cooks lamenting their sunken loaves:

In (Nigella) Kitchen on p298 (at the end of the Seed-Cake recipe) Nigella mentions "The centre of the cake will sink a little as the cake cools, but this is the way of the loaf". The photographs in Nigella's books are intended to be real – to show the food as it should be and to reassure that you are not doing anything wrong if certain cakes do sink.

Many loaf cakes do have a tendency to sink on cooling and this is partly due to the loaf tin. The deeper sides of a loaf tin cause the outside of the cake to cook more quickly than the inside, so the cake rises in the oven but the centre of the cake has not cooked quite enough to permanently set the proteins in the cake batter (from the flour and egg) and hold the cake up – so it will sink as it cools.

The batter is also a reason as these cakes are all intended to keep well they may sink but they will remain moist and delicious to eat for longer than a madiera or pound-type cake which may rise but become dry after a day or two.

So if you are not good with the whole feeble looking loaf, try making this as cupcakes.  Keep the temperature at 325 or 350 degrees F and start checking through the glass door at 20 minutes for the visual test before opening the door.  When it looks like the top is firmed up and could be done, do a toothpick test and check for doneness in 5 minute intervals.

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen

MAKES ONE 9" LOAF CAKE or about 10-12 SLICES

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
dab flavorless vegetable oil, for greasing syrup spoon
2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle's), or dark corn syrup
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 eggs
zest 2 regular oranges and juice of 1
1 x 2-pound loaf pan

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides, or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.
Beat the already soft butter with the syrup — if you dab a little oil on your tablespoon measure with a sheet of paper towel, the syrup shouldn't stick to the spoon — and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, though the sugar will have a bit of grit about it.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 tablespoonful of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg.
Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled, as if slightly curdled. No need to panic!
Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer if need be. A cake tester won't come out entirely clean, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of inner stickiness. Let cool a little in its pan on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.

Make Ahead Tip: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. Will keep for 5 days total.

Freeze Ahead Tip: The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature.


 

Panettone French Toast

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This is a baby Panettone.  It's a popular Italian holiday sweet yeast bread with raisins in it and another dried fruit or two.  It is NOT fruit cake for Pete's Sake! 

Anyway.  It makes great French Toast.  (or just toast it if yer lazy)

French Toast directions:

Cut it into slices, duh.  Heat a little butter or olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat. 

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In a shallow bowl beat 1 or 2 eggs and a little milk or cream, dip both sides of bread in mixture, put in pan and fry until golden brown about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or light sugar if desired and pour on some maple syrup! 

You're still here.  Why?  Oh, yeah.

Get a drink like coffee or hot chocolate, pick up a fork and napkin, take your plate and drink and go sit somewhere comfortably,  Eat the food.  Jeez.

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Gingersnaps or Pepparkakor

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This is a great cookie to make if you don't want a sickeningly sweet dessert, or if you are sending a variety of cookies as a gift and the others are heavier, such as chocolate or iced.

They have a definite "snap" – ooh, good for dunking.

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Perfect for making the dough ahead and freezing.  Thawing is very quick and working with very cold dough is so much easier than simply chilling it for an hour.

 

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You can use any shape but I would stick with a small, simple shape, about 3 inches.  Why?  Well, if you use a gingerbread man shape, remember these cookies are a bit harder on purpose.  Some people might think you are serving them hard gingerbread men rather than ginger snaps. 

You need to be really careful with humans. They're so fragile and easily confused. 

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Flour your surface generously, especially the middle of your dough.  It tends to stick more.

So, is it Ginger Snaps or Gingersnaps?  Oh, Hell's Bells, I don't know.

 
Ginger Snaps (Pepparkakor)
Compliments of JennaDish

from A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies

Makes 100 3" cookies

3 1/2 cups all -purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add sugar gradually, beating until light and sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in spices, then beat in egg, molasses, and orange zest until well blended.  Add about onethird of flour mixture and mix on low speed.  Gradually add remaining flour, mixin just until blended.  Scrape dough onto large piece of plastic wrap.  Use wrap to help shape into 3 flat discs, then cover completely with wrap.  Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to develop.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out one disc at a time to 1/8" thickness on lightly floured surface; you may need to flour the rolling pin too.  Make sure they are rolled out this thinly, as the quality – the "snap" – of the finished cookie depends on it.  Cut out cookies with cutters and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake until dry and light golden brown on bottom and can be gently lifted from the sheet, about 9 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on racks for a couple of minutes, then carefully transfer to racks to cool completely.