Growing up, one of the best things about the Christmas holiday was baking with my mom. We made huge batches of cookies and would spend hours icing them. We only ever made Gingerbread, Orange cookies, and snickerdoodles. I think because those are the only ones people liked? The recipes were super old and had been handed down for generations. We would always show up to my grandparents on Christmas eve with a huge platter of cookies.
When I was in college, moms interest in baking cookies kind of died out (I suspect that there was never a great love of cookie baking and she was simply doing it because it was a fun memory to be made with us kids) so one year I tried to do it myself. I ended up with an army of over 200 gingerbread men that lived in my freezer and got handed out to everyone I knew. Last year there were no cookies because I was so insanely pregnant I could barely move.
This year, I enlisted MIL to come help. She was looking for someone to help with her family recipes and I was looking for help wrangling Little Darling while I baked. We only managed to get two recipes done, but we had a great time doing it. Since then I have been sneaking in batches of chocolate chip cookies at night while Little Darling is sleeping and we have planned another baking day this weekend to get another large portion done.
My favorite christmas cookie, and probably all time favorite cookie ever, is my moms gingerbread recipe. It is soft and chewy and delicious. We ice them with a simple powdered sugar glaze and they are so good! Growing up we made them in circles because its easy, but I have been branching out into gingerbread men, boys, and even little house shaped cookie cutters.
Here is the recipe:
1 cup shortening
1 cup baking molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tsp baking soda (dissolved in boiling water)
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Add flour to make soft dough to roll
Bake at 375 for 5 or 6 minutes
That is the recipe as it was given to my mom a million years ago. I have learned to not over work the dough or your gingerbread men taste like dough boys. Not a good taste. I have no idea how much flour I ever use, I just mix until it is a nice dough that I can work with my hands.
After they have cooled down you can ice them. Here is my icing recipe:
4 Tbsp butter (melted)
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
Work with it until it is a good consistency to pour or spread, whichever you prefer.
I love these cookies, they are super delicious and the perfect addition to any holiday party.