I’m having so much fun this year, getting ready for Christmas with my little elf (Ashlyn) by my side! She’s really into all of the preparations this year, and she loves to bake, so I thought it would be a lot of fun to have a few of her friends over for a cookie-decorating play date last week.
Once I realized that I had invited a total of SIX 2-2.5 year olds, plus their five siblings ranging from newborn to 11 months old (and mommies, of course!), I thought it was the craziest idea I’d ever had but despite the general chaos it was so much fun!
I used a gingerbread recipe that I found on a forum I frequent, and I used the confectioners icing recipe from Joy of Baking. They were fun to make, fun to decorate, and we’re having fun eating them now!
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; then blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.
- Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- I found that my dough was crumbly, so I needed to knead it for a couple of minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater.
Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk if needed.
Tint frosting with food color, if desired. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.