Cooking (safely away from stoves and ovens) is a wonderful way to share in the holiday spirit with your little ones. Toddlers love to be helpers, so let your elves sift the sugar and flour and add a touch of spirit to your masterpiece.
If your babies are not quite ready to officially add ingredients to the meal, provide them with their own bowl of cheerios and a spatula to “assist.” You would be surprised with the concoctions your new sou chef will create and the fun you will have bonding with your baby while also feeling productive, as you check a chore off your growing holiday to do list.
Looking for a homemade treat to bring to your holiday parties? Boston Babies again features Back Bay Mom, Devon Holden, who provides her special recipe which is sure to spice up the season.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Cookies:
- 6 cups (about) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 1 1/2teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Combine 5 1/4 cups flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend well.
- Using electric mixer, beat butter and shortening in large bowl to blend.
- Add 1 cup sugar, molasses, and lemon peel and beat until smooth.
- Beat in egg and buttermilk.
- Stir 2 teaspoons of water and baking soda in small cup to blend; beat into butter mixture.
- Beat in flour mixture in 2 additions. Stir in more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until slightly firm dough forms.
- Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Shape each into disk.
- Wrap disks and chill until firm enough to roll, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Soften slightly before rolling out.)
Roll Dough-Create Cookies:
- Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between sheets of waxed paper to 16×12-inch rectangle, occasionally lifting paper to smooth out wrinkles.
- Using 4- to 5-inch cutters, cut out boy and girl gingerbread people.
- Pull away excess dough around cutouts; flatten, wrap, and chill excess dough.
- Slide rimless baking sheet or inverted baking sheet under waxed paper with cutouts and chill until firm.
- Repeat with remaining dough disks, refrigerating cutouts on waxed paper on baking sheets.
- Roll out excess dough and make more cookies, using all of dough. (Cutout cookies can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.)
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Using thin metal spatula, lift chilled cookies off waxed paper and transfer to baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.
- Bake until darker at edges and just firm to touch in center, about 12 minutes.
- Cool on sheet 5 minutes.
- Transfer to rack; cool completely.
- Bake remaining cookies, 1 sheet at a time.
- Leave the dough in round disks over night to increase the flavor.
- You can never have enough of wax paper and flour.
- For best results: Once the cookie cutter is in dough, try and transfer onto floured cookie sheet without falling out of cookie cutter.