Mr. Moo only goes to daycare twice a week. As such, we usually miss the fun days. (Not to say that his daycare is a sweat shop where he toils away at making wee little garments for teeny, tiny baby dolls… I’m just saying, we miss stuff like the Halloween costume parade. Although, now that I think about it… his nimble fingers could quickly sew up a few garments… I smell a home business a brewin’.) Anyway, when his teacher said that the holiday party was going to be on a day when Mr. Moo partakes in daycare living, I said sign us up.
Of course, the teacher replied, “The sign-up sheet will be available on Tuesday.” (Not a daycare day.) “Hmmm… just put me down for whatever and let me know.” She put me down for holiday cookies. I am so not a holiday cookie type of gal, but I want my child to be accepted and recognized by his peers, so I manned up and started searching for toddler appropriate holiday cookie recipes.
Basically, I needed a cookie without nuts or peanut butter, that a small child could chew without difficulty, that was large enough to pose no choking hazard, and that didn’t contain a week’s load of sugar or chocolate. (The last item was mine. I still can’t get behind the whole my child needs sugar.)
Gingerbread anyone? And, I found a perfect recipe in the oddest of places: Paul Deen. That’s right. Paula Freakin’ Deen is going to help Mr. Moo be a joiner of the toddler set.
Gingerbread Boys and Girls
- ¾ C packed dark brown sugar
- 1 stick butter or margarine, softened
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ C molasses
- 3¾ C all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
- 2 t ground ginger
- 1½ t baking soda
- ½ t ground cinnamon
- ½ t freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ t salt
- 1 C confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1-2 T milk
- Food coloring, as desired
Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the sugar and butter until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and molasses and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine with a spoon or spatula.
Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; place in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until pliable. Take about ½ C of dough at a time and roll onto a floured board until about ⅛” thick. Cut out with gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. You can re-roll the scraps. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies from the board to the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate the cookies for 20 minutes, then bake until they just begin to brown at the edges. (The online recipe says 10 minutes, but when I printed that same recipe… the directions said 18-20 minutes. Mine took about 13 minutes.) Transfer to wire racks to cool.
To make the icing, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk. Divide the mixture into thirds; leave ⅓ white, and color ⅓ green and the final third red. Decorate piping eyes, mouths, buttons, and bow ties.
First, aren’t these about the cutest things? I purchased the sprinkles are at the grocery store (made bye Wilton). I used the smallest plain tip I had to do the piping. This is only a small selection. I made about 30 large guys and gals and a handful of the smaller snowmen you see in the upper left corner. The amount of cookies obviously depends upon the size of your cutter.
Secondly, they taste like crap. If you eat them the same day, they don’t have that crispness that one comes to expect from gingerbread people. So, I let them sit out overnight. Also, if I’m going to go all cannibal on the gingers, I want them to taste like gingers (soulless bastards that they are). This recipe didn’t have enough ginger-i-ness to it. Perhaps fresh ginger would be better. Or maybe I’m used to a snap and not a bread tenor to my handheld ginger desserts.
And, I’m not even going to go into the difficulty of the dough. I don’t even want to call it dough. I want to call it crumbs that when whacked hard enough with a rolling pin will coalesce to form some semblance of something that can be cut with cookie cutters.
So, is my child now shunned from class forever and ever? Actually no. Apparently, kids love bland mush cookies. Win for Mr. Moo and his class. I am still on the hunt for a holiday cookie.