Tatjana and I are still so busy shopping and enjoying our time together while she is home that I ran out of time to get a new blog post written today. Instead, I thought I’d rerun a little fun we had baking up some holiday cheer a few years ago.

Holiday shoppers

Holiday shoppers

If you haven’t already noticed by now (from the gazillion Christmas posts) – I LOVE this time of year! For me, it is not about religion, or the commercial aspect of the holiday. It stems from some of my fondest memories of my family being together and always joyful at this particular time of year.

xxx

Nothing like Christmas lights to get me in the Christmas spirit!

Something as simple as a stroll through the neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights brings back the majesty and wonder I felt as a child. As my wise friend Marianne pointed out last night – it is a time when so many people across the globe hold charity in their hearts, and the possibility for peace on earth feels closest to becoming a reality.
Tatjana and her gingerbread house

Tatjana and her gingerbread house

Another favorite family tradition I share with my daughter is making gingerbread together this time of year. Since these have been tough financial times for so many, it is a great way to make something that will put a smile on friends faces without breaking the bank, so I thought I would republish this video Tatjana and I made last year in plenty of time for you to do just that.
One of the reasons I remember Christmas with such warmth is I loved baking with my Auntie Vera, then continuing that tradition with Tatjana. It is a wonderful way to bond with your children in addition to creating gifts. You’ve gotta love those win/win situations!
Uplifted bittersweet memories

Uplifted bittersweet memories

It is also inevitably a time we remember loved ones lost. Making these gingerbread cookies together helped uplift those bittersweet memories. I hope making them does the same for you!
Keith Haring Gingerbread Cookies
Keith Haring Gingerbread Art


Servings: 12

Ingredients:
  • parchment paper for tracing and cutting guide
  • images you would like to make in gingerbread
  • all-purpose flour + extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 pound powdered sugar

Directions:

1).Tatjana suggested she find some images online that I would then trace onto parchment paper for a cookie cutting guides in the dough.

2). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour through all-spice together in a large mixing bowl.

3). Melt brown sugar, vegetable shortening (or butter), and Karo syrup together in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until combined. Then add to dry ingredients while still warm, using a mixer with dough hook, stir until just incorporated. Dough will be crumbly, but will come together as you roll it out still warm.

4). Dust the counter with flour to prevent dough sticking to it. Dough must still be warm as you roll it out. If it cools too quickly place it into a warm oven for 2-3 minutes to soften, then gently roll it out to an even 1/8″ thickness. Place parchment stencil over dough, and cut around edges carefully with a paring knife. Carefully transfer gingerbread shapes to a nonstick baking sheet.

5). Bake in preheated oven 10-15 minutes, until dark golden brown all over. Remove from oven, cool 5 minutes, then carefully loosen edges using a spatula to place onto cooling racks to cool completely.

6). While gingerbread is cooling, mix royal icing ingredients together in mixer fitted with a wire whisk. Start slowly, so powdered sugar dose not fly out everywhere, and gradually increase speed to medium high. Beat for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Add a little more water to loosen consistency, or add a little more powdered sugar to stiffen until you have the desired consistency.

7). Fill a pastry bag fitted with desired tip, and decorate gingerbread to match your original print outs from online.
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  • December 11, 2010
    6:36 pm

    How lovely! Such a fun memory!Cortney Clinkenbeard Dewhurst

  • December 11, 2010
    6:36 pm

    When I was young my mom and I used to make whiskey balls. That was our tradition :)Valerie Vallot

  • December 11, 2010
    6:37 pm

    ummy … just the smell is heavenly let along the deliciousness of each bite.Madeleine Gallay

  • December 11, 2010
    8:05 pm

    One of the lasting memories I have of my mother is helping her make cookies. She would start baking in October when she baked the fruit cakes, then in November, early December, she would get down to the business of getting enough Christmas cookies made so that the milkman, the mailman, any other delivery person, all left with a box of cookies and a big smile. It seems a shame to let the tradition die, so I bake cookies for a few friends who otherwise wouldn't have homemade cookies in the house. It's my way of paying it forward. It makes me so sad to hear other people say what a waste of time it is and that no one cares about homemade or store bought cookies. I care and I want to give my friends something that shows how much I do care. As for the others, they can buy their cookies and enjoy them. Mine might not have the perfect shape, might be a little brown around the edges, but, at least I took the time to bake. I just have to remind myself not to eat too many and put my blood sugar in chaos. So, I bake enough to fill tins for friends to take home, and freeze the rest for the next set of visitors. The flat smells wonderful with all the chocolate and spices and I feel good. I've managed to bake and put a big amount of love into every batch. You can never go wrong with that!

  • December 11, 2010
    8:13 pm

    My daughter adores gingerbread but can't stand the smell of molasses baking. Thanks for giving us a recipe with no molasses! xoMorgan Raymond

  • December 12, 2010
    1:27 am

    I loved making Gingerbread Men and all sorts of Christmas biscuits at this time of the year. I remember as a young child making these with my mother who is still a whizz at whipping up all sorts of goodies. I was going to give it a miss this year as I have been feeling miserable lately, however after deep conversation with an old friend who has come back into my life afer 25 years, I have found that passion again. It's time to move forward, embrace family and remember what life is all about.Aussie Mum

  • December 12, 2010
    4:02 am

    Aussie Mum, What a wonderful story, kind of like a miracle. Hugs, Joyce

  • December 12, 2010
    4:10 am

    Aussie Mum – You are a miracle, and I am so happy you came into my orbit!

  • December 12, 2010
    11:24 am

    Joyce- Thank you. Yes, it is like a miracle.Hugs right back atcha!Julie Anne- Not sure that I am a miracle myself, but it cetainly makes me feel warm and fuzzy, something I so desperately need right now. I am extremely tickled pink that I have come into your orbit too. :)Aussie Mum

  • December 12, 2010
    3:12 pm

    Aussie Mum – You need to believe that things are going to be better and they will in their own time. Know that your family loves you and you mean the world to your friends. Come out into the sunshine, smile and enjoy each day because each day is a blessing. Life is worth the effort, and some days take more effort than others. Cyber hugs to you!

  • December 12, 2010
    7:09 pm

    Every year I try to make a Christmas gingerbread house, but every year it falls over…..:(Carly Guerrero

  • December 12, 2010
    7:11 pm

    Try these cookies then – they are not meant to stand up, so shouldn't fall over.

  • December 13, 2010
    5:32 am

    This is a great gift idea. Thanks Jewles

  • December 13, 2010
    5:07 pm

    Keith would LOVE those!!Derek Sims

  • December 13, 2010
    5:08 pm

    They make me smile, and I can imagine him grinning too. I hope so.

  • December 13, 2010
    7:35 pm

    I imediately clicked on it as soon as I saw them on my page… I will make these for my nephews stocking!! Do you have Harring cookie cutters or did you freehand cut them?Derek Sims

  • December 13, 2010
    7:35 pm

    cool!! those are great. and i have the same black octagonal plates as you!! 🙂 we made cool cookies here this year…ginger bread with crushed jolly ranchers in the middle. they end up being like stained glass cookies!!Derek Sumisu

  • December 13, 2010
    7:36 pm

    wonderful way to bond with me, I LOVE these, I think I can smell them from here.Madeleine Gallay

  • December 13, 2010
    7:36 pm

    Derek Sims – I printed out pictures of Keith's images, traced them on parchmont paper, and cut out. Then I rolled out the dough and cut out the images around the parchmont with a paring knife. You can see it all in the video on the blog.Derek Sumisu – groovy cool on the stained glass! Madeleine – I'll make them for you anytime you want!

  • December 13, 2010
    7:37 pm

    you are bringing out all the Dereks today! LOLI saw the blogvid after I had posted you…thanks!Derek Sims

  • December 14, 2010
    1:49 am

    Love the smell of gingerbread.