Monday, November 3, 2008

Classic Gingerbread

The recipe in this photo was given to me when I was in high school 30 years ago.
It came from a friends mother.
One day, Karen brought some gingerbread to share and I was hooked.
I love this recipe because it is a great one for decorating. And in my humble opinion, gingerbread along with some sugar cookies are two Christmas classics.

I started going through my box of Christmas recipes in search for a fruitcake recipe and then proceeded to get lost in time and thought as I read over various recipes.
I have an old cut-out recipe from a Robin Hood booklet that was most likely handed out through a grocery store during the Christmas season many years ago. It is my standard shortbread cookie recipe which I use every year.
My Christmas recipe box holds various recipes from fruitcake to candy making.
Every year and depending on where we spend Christmas, I will choose a variety of recipes in which to bake for the holiday.
My dad likes fruitcake with just cherries and lots of nuts.
My mother-in-law loves a dark cake with candied citrus peel.
Grandpa has very little teeth so a cake without nuts needs to be made.
Grandma loved shortbread.
My nieces & nephews love my decorated sugar cookies.
Christmas made to order.

I have also collected numerous cookie cutter shapes to use for my sugar cookie recipe.
Making sugar cookies is a two day process.
After making & baking the cookies, I let them sit overnight and then the next day I will ice the cookies with a royal icing and decorate with a variety of sugars and colored candy bits.
When I was growing up I remember cookies with the silver candy balls. I also remember how hard they are and so I pass on them lest I be submitted with a dental bill from one of my siblings because their children chipped a tooth.
I have already made my Christmas cakes, one dark with pecans the other light with almonds.
The next thing on the list will be cookies I can bake and freeze. Since I have limited space (that depends on whether I buy a turkey) I have a cookie countdown list that works down toward Christmas day or whatever social outing is planned.
My list so far includes:
Sugar cookies
Melting moments
Bird's Nest, rolled in chopped nuts
Nanaimo bars(mother-in-law's favorite)
Almond Roca
Chocolate Biscotti with Cranberries
Butter tarts
Just to name a few.
I am sure that my list will change over the days, depending on my mood.

Again, I am not a baker. Well, at least I do not think I am. I really just get into it when a holiday comes around and its helps to know that I am baking for someone who enjoys it.
That's my thing really.
I enjoy cooking or in this case baking because I know that it makes someone else happy.
And just like Mrs. Gregory's gingerbread recipe. The satisfaction of doing something nice for someone can last a long time.

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