Rolled Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread is one of those cookies that is just a standard to have during the holidays. They are spicy, chewy and can be cut in cute holiday shapes! My siblings and I used to get the Little Debbie gingerbreads and fight over them at the house. :)

I decided to include these in my coworker’s baked goodies tins because they looked easy and it was something new to bake. Being that I’ve never worked with molasses, I have to admit, I thought it was going to smell like brown sugar or something similar. No way folks…this has a very different smell than imagined. In fact, I thought I had a batch of bad molasses, but I kept going with the recipe and it turns out that molasses do indeed smell unpleasant normally.

This recipe is easy to work with and yields a delicious gingerbread cookie. You will not be disappointed at all.

Rolled Gingerbread Cookies
Source: Cookie Craft

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (if using this recipe to make a gingerbread house, omit the baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup molasses

Directions:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended.
  2. Put the flour, spices, baking soda, salt and orange zest in a medium bowl and whisk mixture together.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until the two are well blended.
  4. Put the dough in 3 even portions, formed into a rough disk and chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours.
  5. When you are ready to bake the dough, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Cut the dough into desired shapes and place on a parchment/Silpat lined cookie sheet. ( I dipped one side of the cookie in sprinkles before placing on the cookie sheet.)
  7. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 12-16 minutes for larger cookies; 7-9 minutes for smaller cookies or until the dough darkens a little along the edges.
  8. Cool cookies completely for decorating.

Makes about 36 3″ sized cookies, which equates to almost one double batch of sugar cookies.

Baking Gifts

Coworkers are typically difficult to buy for. In college, I would really only buy for fellow female student coworkers. It was easy…Starbucks gift cards, bath stuff, etc. When I graduated and got thrown into the real world, I was introduced to working in a primarily male field. I can’t shop for males, at all. I have enough trouble shopping for  my husband, father and brother! So, I started making edible gifts.

Last year, I bought cute Christmas chinese take-out boxes and put decorated sugar cookies, oreo truffles and chocolate covered pretzels in them. This year, I branched out from those ideas just a little bit.

I had my first adventures of making homemade peppermint marshmallows. The KA definitely was put to use here! I couldn’t have even fathomed making these last year with a $10 hand mixer.

Another recipe from Cookie Craft that I’ve been wanting to try is their rolled gingerbread cookies. These did not disappoint.

Of course, the oreo truffles made an appearance, and this time, instead of putting a bunch in one bag, I bought cutesy Christmas foils to wrap them in!

Adorable right? I love you Hobby Lobby.

Of course, here is a small picture of the packaging in action. I will say my kitchen was a big ol’ mess after this, but it was worth it! My coworkers seemed to love the goodies. Of course, the easiest recipe (oreo truffles) became the hit of the gifts!

Mom’s Cornbread Dressing

Since we were hosting Thanksgiving, I knew I was going to make my mom’s fabulous cornbread dressing. It’s so flavorful, moist and just delicious! I was afraid it wouldn’t be as good as mom’s, because the recipe she gave me was a lot of ingredients “to taste”. So, I was surprised to see that people actually gobbled (hehe..pun) it up!

I wrote ingredients down as I did it, and so this is my version of my mom’s dressing!

Mom’s Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bunches of green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 9×13 pan of prepared and cooled cornbread (I did this using 6 packs of Jiffy cornbread mix.)
  • 1 lb. lean ground meat
  • 1 roll of Jimmy Dean reduced fat sausage
  • 2 cans of beef broth
  • Cajun spice, paprika, salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t measure these…sorry!)

Directions:

  1. Saute onions, green onions, bell pepper and celery in a dutch oven until transparent. Add garlic.
  2. Brown sausage and beef in another pot until fully cooked and drain fat.
  3. Add meat mixture to the onion mixture in the dutch oven.
  4. Cut up and crumble cornbread by hand and add it to the pot.
  5. Add beef broth about a half can at a time, until the mixture is moist.
  6. Add spices to taste.
  7. Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld. The next day, place the dutch oven (covered) in the oven at 350 degrees until the dressing is warm. Serve.

Our Thanksgiving!

Top row: Cajun Smoked Turkey, Cornbread dressing, Honey-baked Ham
Second row: Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Cauliflower Au Gratin
Bottom Row: Homemade Yeast Rolls, Rice Dressing

After much planning and excitement, Thanksgiving with our families was absolutely wonderful. It was great to spend time with everyone, and to see the responses to the food we cooked. I’m going to share a couple of recipes with you, since our families insisted on bringing dishes as well. :)

I hope you also had a great Thanksgiving! I can’t believe it’s time to plan for Christmas now!

 

Tonight starts the cooking!

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is almost here! Tonight marks the first night of prepping and cooking for us, and we couldn’t be more excited!

Also, I was a finalist for a photo contest for Marx Foods, so if you could take a minute (really doesn’t take long) to vote for Skinny Food by Amy, I would appreciate it! Vote here!

Our Menu!

Appetizers (keeping it simple here)
Havarti Cheese with Praline Sauce & Crackers
Jalapeno Jelly with Cream Cheese & Crackers

Entrees
Smoked Turkey
Glazed Ham

Sides
Salad with Vinaigrette
Mom’s Famous Cornbread Dressing
Rice Dressing
Cauliflower Au Gratin (Mom is bringing this dish)
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole

Desserts
Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato Pie
Memaw’s Bread Pudding (which my Memaw is bringing)
Cinnabon Apple Pie (DH’s favorite pie)
Turkey Cake Pops

Not much on here is skinny, really, but there will be some lighter substitutions for a skinnier holiday meal. I can’t wait to share some pictures of Thanksgiving with y’all!

Foodie Christmas Presents!!

This Christmas, I decided to give a bunch of homemade presents. I love the thought of gifting something that is homemade. It feels more personal, and who hates food?

For some family members, I gave spice baskets with homemade vanilla extract and sugar. For the extract, I found very reasonably priced bottles (that you didn’t have to buy in bulk or pay a TON for shipping, since they were glass) at American Spice Company, and I simply used mason jars for the vanilla sugar. To give it a cuter touch, I purchased label sheets at Office Depot and designed the labels for them myself. Check them out!

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I also made some homemade peppermint bark to put in the baskets. This is very simple…just place some parchment on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in melted semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Pour melted white chocolate on top (and swirl a little, if you’d like). Then, before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. Once everything hardens, break the bark off into large chunks and place in bags.

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I thought that my family would enjoy some spice mixes, and I decided to give them our favorites from Penzeys: Northwood seasoning and BBQ 3000.

As for our coworkers, I baked sugar cookies using this recipe. I would say this book is a definite read for anyone who is interested in learning to decorate cookies! I adapted it to add almond extract, in addition to the vanilla extract and lemon rind called for in the recipe. It gave the cookies more of a sugar cookie flavor and less of a butter cookie flavor. This was the first homemade sugar cookie recipe that my fiance loved too! I FINALLY ended the search for the perfect recipe! :)

This recipe barely spread, allowing the cookies to keep their great crisp shape. It also rolled VERY easily. I never had a sticking problem, which is something I experienced with some previous recipes.

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To show how well they hold their shape, the cookies on the left are not cooked, while the ones on right are cooked.

I also made candy bark coated pretzels with Christmas M&Ms on top. This was a SUPER easy recipe. Just melt candy melts or bark, spoon into the middle of the store bought pretzels (laid out on wax or parchment paper) and top with 3 M&M’s.
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Last, but not least, I made the infamous Oreo Truffles. To make more, I used 1/2 tsp. as a measuring tool for how big the truffles should be. These made a more decent sized truffle, and I made about 80 with the recipe this time.

Then, I put each treat in holiday cellophane bags, as pictured.

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These went in cute little holiday take-out boxes that I found at Michael’s for $1 each. I absolutely love how these all came out! They were also well-received, so I’m definitely going to keep making edible gifts for future holidays!
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