Sunday, December 20, 2020

Holiday Treats - Making Gingerbread with the kids

Weekends are made for making memories. I love having time off work that I can do things with the kids. 
Alli and Ian have both been saying that they wanted to decorate gingerbread. I'd thought about buying a kit, but you know, let's do something together! 

I made gingerbread for the first time back in 2014 when a fellow Micechatter suggested it as something to make for the holidays. Now that the kids are bigger and eager to help out in the kitchen, they can make them along with me!

When everyone woke up, I broke the news that today we were going to make Gingerbread cookies together! They were excited. With them still in their pajamas, we went into the kitchen to start making gingerbread dough. 


For our recipe, we'll be using the very highly rated "My Favorite Gingerbread Cookies" recipe from sallysbakingaddiction.com. It uses brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and most importantly molasses and ginger. I don't think Ian likes the smell of the molasses. Alli was game to try a taste of straight molasses and could tell that it was sweet, but didn't want a second taste. She said it smelled like olives. 

The mixed all the dry ingredients together, then slowly added it to the wet ingredients already in the mixer. 

The dough needs to be chilled for a few hours, so Alli helped me split it up and wrap it in plastic wrap. 

There's two slabs of dough ready to chill. Alli found a place for them in the fridge. We'll come back to those later this afternoon. 

Without any prompting, Alli went off and made a new picture for our Holiday wall. They love being creative, drawing and coloring. This one says "gigr bread macig!" = gingerbread making!

After a few hours, it's time to make the cookies! Alli grabbed the first slab from the fridge. I installed the 1/4" spacers on the rolling pin and Ian rolled out his dough. We're mostly making gingerbread men today, with a couple of exceptions. Ian's cookies went into the oven to bake while Alli gets hers prepped. 

With the second slab of dough, she started flattening it out and it just happened to form a heart! She was excited and asked mommy to come see it. 

And then she cut out the different shapes. 

And then put them onto the tray. Those went into the oven to bake for 9 minutes. 

For my gingerbread, I'm going for something a little more ambitious. I've made gingerbread houses with those kits that you can buy, but I've never made my own gingerbread house from scratch. I'm not so sure this is the right kind of recipe for the cookie because these are going to be soft and chewy cookies, where the kits I've seen are hard and crunchy. But, you never know until you try it. 

And since we're doing all this from scratch, we're going to be making our own royal icing too. I pasteurized some egg whites, and then Alli and I added powdered sugar to the mixing bowl and let it whip into the right consistency. I split off a couple different portions so I could dye them red and green. 

With the royal icing ready, the kids gathered a wide assortment of candies and treats they could use to decorate their gingerbread cookies. The slabs of my homemade house are out of the oven and cooled, so I'll be giving that a go. 

The consistency of this icing was much better than the ones we used for Alli's sugar cookies. It's not quite a runny and the tip of the piping bag is smaller. 

They've both got a bunch of cookies to decorate and lots of different ideas. 

He looks great Ian! 

Alli is using Nerds to give her cookie a face. 

Alli is working on a red Christmas stocking. 

Time for my first homemade gingerbread house. The measurements were all a bit rough, but things are all coming together. The royal icing was sticky enough to hold everything in place and most importantly, the gingerbread was still able to hold its form and not crumble or break. This might just work out. 

Thanks for snapping a picture of me Alli. 

While I'm busy making my house, the kids were hard at work decorating all the rest of the cookies. 

Awesome Alli! That Christmas tree is very well done. That's a whole lot of marshmallows going on on that one cookie. And I love your white marshmallow and chocolate chip Mickey. 

Ian your Christmas tree is well decorated too. In addition he made an Alien with 5 eyes, a guy with a giant mouth, plus a Christmas star. 

Theresa decided to go classic Disney. Just a simple outline, a smile, and buttons. 

Everyone posing with their creations. 

Here's my gingerbread house. I wish I could say I came up with the next idea, but this one was all on the kids. They asked me where the Hidden Mickeys were. Uh, oh yeah. That's totally a thing I should have added. 

They're remembering all the fun times we had at Disneyland over the years searching the giant Gingerbread House inside the Grand Californian Lobby for Hidden Mickeys. In 2019 we found 30 Hidden Mickeys, and in 2018 we found 25 Hidden Mickeys

And so I set off to add a few Mickeys they could find. There's 7 Hidden Mickeys spread around the gingerbread house. 

And they kids quickly found them all. 

There's the Mickey holly berries on the front window. 

And a Mickey ornament in the tree. 

There's a couple snowy Mickeys. One behind the tree and another on the side wall. 

On the top there lots of holly, but only one of them has the classic Mickey head. 

Stuck to the back is a chocolate Mickey. 

And on the other side is another Mickey right under the eaves. 

And with all the pictures taken, there's no reason not to start eating it. All the other cookies have various forms of candy scattered on them, so the adults were very interested in the gingerbread house with just the normal cookie and icing. 

The cookies themselves were pretty tasty! They were chewy and soft just like I was hoping for. 

The destruction in progress. 


The kids and I had a great time making cookies in the kitchen and decorating them together. 

A montage of video clips I made of the whole process. I like the pictures and the story, but video captures something you just can't put into words. 



1 comment:

  1. That was a fun gingerbread baking and decorating day! The kids got really creative with their decorating ideas using candy, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and colored icing. The gingerbread house turned out really well, and made extra special with those hidden Mickeys :-)...great job for just making it on the fly & experimenting with "soft" gingerbread for the pieces! Sorry to see the gingerbread house be eaten apart so quickly after its creation...not too much time to just admire it after the effort! Yum...soft and chewy gingerbread is definitely preferred over the hard, crunchy type (at least to me!). "Egg in the pocket" trick...good thing it didn't prematurely break :-) The gingerbread day memories will certainly be remembered! EOM

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