Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rolled Gingerbread Cookies, A Very Old Recipe.

My poor husband has had enough, again. Our library looks like a book vomitorium, and I’m the guilty party. Books are everywhere, floor to ceiling, as my cookbook collecting habit strangles the room. There are books old and new all over the floor, seeping out into the hallway. Jesse spent much of the weekend trying to organize the chaos, but with little luck.

I cannot help this though. Each book is a time stamp, holding history still while I absorb information, much of which has been lost to today’s cooks and bakers. Jesse will hopefully forgive me, as my collection grows into other rooms.

I purchased a 1948 copy of Brer Rabbit’s New Orleans Molasses Recipes this past weekend at an antique store, but instead of baking from it, I found a more appealing recipe online and used that instead! Yeah, I am in so much trouble.

Looking at the ingredients, I realized this recipe has very old roots. A good amount of vinegar is used to tenderize the dough, so that it can be rerolled quite a few times if needed. It may have been made with lard originally, because it needed an extra egg to get to gingerbread consistency with shortening. These cookies are real gingerbread, well ginger cookies really, leaving me to wonder why and when “bread” was eventually added.

The cookie stamp comes in a kit from Williams Sonoma. We had a lot of fun making up sayings and putting in the letters. Of course not all of our words where um, holiday appropriate, but they made me burst into evil giggles. We ate all these though, and only the happy cheerful ones remain in my freezer.

Rolled Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 cup molasses, warm in microwave if difficult to pour

2 Tablespoons white vinegar, (Don't worry there will be no taste of vinegar.)

1/2 teaspoons salt

2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

5 cups all purpose flour

In a stand mixer, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs, molasses, and vinegar. Add the salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and mix to combine. Add the baking soda and mix in. Add the flour about 1/3 at a time and mix until combined.

Spoon the dough about equally onto three pieces of wax paper. Wrap up, press into a 1 inch disk, and store in a gallon size bag. Chill dough for several hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat them oven to 375 degrees and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place a disk between two sheets of new wax paper. Roll 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. *If dough sticks to wax paper, flour lightly until it stops sticking* Cut out shapes and place on parchment 2 inches apart. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes depending on the size thickness of your cookies, or until no longer wet looking.

Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then move to wire cooling racks. Once cooled, decorate as desired.

Royal Icing

Want to fancy up your gingerbread? This is a fantastic royal icing recipe. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. You’ll get much more accurate results.

2 3/8 cups (315 grams) powdered sugar

¼ cup (60 ML) All Whites 100% Liquid Egg Whites (The pasteurized stuff in a carton)

2 ¼ teaspoons cream of tartar

A very small dash of lemon, vanilla, almond, or other extract or oil of your choice.

In a stand mixer fluff up the powdered sugar to break up any clumps. Add the egg white, cream of tarter, and extract. Beat on low spend until mixed, then on high speed for 5 minutes.

Cover the extra icing with a damp towel while using, or store in an airtight container right away as the icing will harden immediately.

To thin the icing, add a half teaspoon of water at a time until desired constancy.

Ginger Cookie recipe adapted from COOKS.COM. Royal icing recipe adapted from “Gingerbread House Book” by Ella Harris. Book is in her Bake and Build Gingerbread House Book & Kit.


Federica Simoni said...

splendidi questi biscotti!! complimenti!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

I want, I want!!!

PS - I can relate to your cookbook collection. I have them stacked all over the place. My designated bookshelves cannot hold any more! I'm constantly searching for a particular book - could be in the office, the bedroom, the dining room, etc. Ug!

La Table De Nana said...

Very very cute! I think all we food bloggers will make WS rich w/ our cookie cutters:)Aren't they fun?:)

Joyce said...

Those cookbooks tend to multiply like the fishes and loaves:) I am guilty of the same obsession.

Chef E said...

I am about to dust off the cookie cutters in a few...I love the stamped greetings...where is 'Eat Me', or is that too risque even for a cookie :)

Now you got me curious about the 'bread' part of that cookie name...

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Chef,

I ate "Eat Me" first... Or was it "Bite Me"? Lol they all tasted the same.


Pink Little Cake said...

Hi Laura, the cookies are adorable, just yesterday I saw the cutters on Williams-Sonoma. They are very cute.

PS: I reply to your email.

Mimi said...

Cute cookies, the stamped greetings are so fun. I am pretty sure that cookbook over load is a conditions we can all relate to.

lisa @ dandysugar said...

I have a ton of cookbooks that I can't seem to find the time to actually use, but I keep buying em'. These are super cute!

Caroline Wade said...

I have a recipe for "Ginger Bread" that I got when I worked at a bakery in the bay area 7 years ago it's kind of like a cake... it's really good but I haven't made it in probably 3 or 4 years. I'll find it & send it to you. The candied ginger I put in always sinks to the bottom though... maybe I need to chop it up smaller ;-)

Caroline :-)

PS... I don't know how you keep up with MySpace & your blog! You are very busy!

Veronica M. said...

YESSS! You are so awesome for posting the pic of the evil gingerbread men. It is so cute how they're smiling with naughty things on their chest--you're right! I really want to go out and buy those stampers now. :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I love those cookie stamps. I'm slapping my hand as I type this. The pictures are terrific.

Anonymous said...

I so need some of the inappropriate ginger people cookies for work. My staff would die laughing :)

Renata said...

They look soo gorgeous.. I'd eat tons of them!!

shaz said...

Oh I love the inappropriate cookies!I'm always in trouble with the library because I keep forgetting to return the books - ensuing in fines *blush*. Doesn't help that the eldest daughter is a bookworm too, we take home close to 30 books sometimes - so I completely understand your filing system.

Sue said...

Vomitorium? HA HA! :) I saw those on the Williams-Sonoma site, but thought the words were set, didn't realize you could arrange the letters:) Your cookies are really cute! I have a great gingerbread cookie recipe that I use every year and I love it!

Sarah said...

Love this post! I am a self professed cookbook junkie!!! It took the movers way too much time to pack them all. I would LOVE to have a first edtion of Julia Child's first cookbook!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I know what you mean about the cookbooks. I occasionally have to thin out and get rid of some. The cookies are just adorable.

Debbie said...

The cookies look great. Love gingerbread. My husband has a cookbook obsession...I'm telling you he has more cookbooks than our public library!

Cristie said...

Gingerbread is a tradition in my house every year. I love your cute little boys and the words make it! Personalized is the only way to go.

Lisa said...

This is the second gingerbread recipe I've looked at today that includes vinegar. I compared it to my mom's "old faithful," and noticed hers doesn't call for it. What's the purpose of the vinegar...since flavor isn't it, thank goodness. :-)

This looks so delicious, I can't wait to try it.


The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Lisa,

Vinegar tenderizes the dough, so that you can reroll it quite a few times. It's really nice to work with!


Caroline Wade said...

Ok... here's the "Gingerbread" recipe I mentioned before:

Yield: 2- 8" pans

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
8 oz unsalted butter
1 cup hot coffee

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
4 eggs
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

sift dry ingredients together

melt chocolate, butter, & coffee together
add brown sugar, molasses, then eggs
add ginger & dry ingredients
mix until combined

spray 2- 8" pans, pour batter into pans & bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes

Let me know if you try it & how it turns out. Like I said it's been probably 4 or 5 years since I made it.

raj said...

thats owesome cookies. thanks fo it.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Caroline thank-you!!! I'm looking forward to trying it. I wish you had a blog, you are so awesomely talented. I also understand you are super busy.


The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Everyone! Thank-you and so sorry I haven't been around much.


Lo said...

Oh, yeah -- those old recipes with vinegar in them are the best! Still important not to overwork the dough, but the vinegar definitely helps.

Love those cookie cutters!
As for the cookbook collecting problem... when you find a solution to that, let me know!!

Jennie said...

These cookies are adorable Laura!
I am so making them!

JK said...

Thanks, Laura! I was just about to make gingerbread men tonight for the nephews. :) What perfect timing!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Haha - I love those messages with attitude as well as your description of cookbooks as time stamps :). Reminds me of an old used Chinese cookbook I recently cooked up that told me to use an "asbestos trivet"... My bf complains about my ever-expanding cookbook/baking equipment collection, too. I've started shipping things to work and sneaking them home O:)

2 Stews said...

Don't you just love old cookbooks?? They are like a piece of history. Yes, I could add cookbook addiction (I mean collecting) to my other vices.

I have to try this recipe with vinegar...just the sound of tenderizing the dough is appealing.

I have yet to try this cutter from WS. Love all of your versions!


Free Samples said...

Very awesome and cute idea..this is perfect for Christmas to serve for the family!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I adore the cookie stamps, they are so cute!

tracieMoo said...

they're the cutest gingerbread cookies!

Sue said...

Hi Laura, I have a little something for you over at my blog:)

love lives in the kitchen said...

how cute! i just love your blog and this lovely gingerbread idea!
have a sweet day ,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this-I've been using a recipe that calls for Corn Syrup and was looking for something more natural. For the shortening, did you use butter or margerine or something else? Were the cookies quite crunchy? or more chewy? I got some great animal cookie cutters from Ikea that I've been dying to use on roll out cookies (moose, squirrel, porcupine, fox, and bear!) Thanks!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Those cutters will make super cute cookies! You can't swap the shortening easily though, the reason for it is so that the cookies will keep their shape when baked. One thing you could try though, is if you have access to good quality lard you might try that.

I am guessing this recipe once used lard, because it called for only one egg. So if you try lard, use one less egg and add it to the end if the dough looks much too dry.

I hope this helps some. I will be out of range for awhile.


Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
Thanks for the tips-I'll see if I can get lard at my co-op!
Mary Ellen from Idaho

Sue said...

Laura, I hope everything goes well for your mom! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Chef Fresco said...

Love the cookie stamps! So cute!

Mr. & Mrs. Miles said...

I'm going to try this recipe for my in-laws gifts this year, it sounds amazing! I love anything old fashioned too, especially recipes :)

About how many are in 1 batch? Wondering if I should double it... Thanks!!

The Cooking Photographer said...

This recipe makes a ton of cookies. I can't remember how many, but I do remember thinking it was a double batch.

About the raisins, don't wet them if you are going to roll the dough out unless they are really dry. Add more flour if the dough is too wet. This recipe was written so many years ago our ingredients are different now.


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