We have a few Christmas traditions that are standard in our family. One of them is gingerbread. I used to do gingerbread houses, we loved to decorate them as a family. The boys have kind of outgrown their interest in these, though and I am definitely not going to waster the time making them if there aren't into them- they are a lot of work!! One time I even made gingerbread houses for a Christmas party we had. Not a big deal, right? Well, it kind of is if you have invited 40+ couples. They weren't those tiny houses either, they were good sized. I must have lost my mind....
If you didn't know, we lived in the South for quite a few years (God bless Texas). This recipe is one I used down there, not every recipe for gingerbread will hold up in that humidity. This one will, like a dream.
Although the gingerbread houses are out, gingerbread ornaments are still in. For many, many years, the only ornaments we would use on our trees were gingerbread ornaments and dried orange slices. I love the natural, rustic look. I also love that my boys have cut the ornaments and would hang them on the tree as soon as they were old enough. Now, they are able to roll, cut, bake and hang all on their own. I just love it so much.
Start with your dry ingredients. Mix and set aside.
I am not a Crisco fan, in fact I never bake with it. I will however not use anything else in my cookies. There is NO SUB.
Molasses is a must, of course. This is where you will get your rich, dark color from.
Add in sugar with the molasse and melted Crisco.
Chill your dough for several hours. I like to make mine the day before and let it chill overnight. You can always freeze this dough as well. Just make you bring it to room temp before rolling.
Roll with flour on surface and flour on top, as needed.
Of course we still need to represent Texas.
Make sure and bake on a parchment lined baked sheet. This will make it so much easier to remove after they are baked.
Gingerbread- for houses and ornaments
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cup molasses
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Heat shortening over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from heat and let it continue to melt. In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients minus the sugar. I prefer to do this in my stand mixer, if you want a good arm workout, do this by hand. Set aside.Add sugar and molasses to shortening, mix well. Once it has cooled, add this and eggs to mixer. Mix well. Remove dough from bowl and form into a large disk, or 2 smaller disks. Wrap them in saran wrap and place in fridge. Chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour work surface and roll out dough to desired thickness. I like it about ⅛-1/16 of an inch. If you are constructing gingerbread houses, make sure and put rolled dough onto baking parchment before cutting. For ornaments, make sure and poke the hole for the hanger to slide through before baking. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet until browned around the edges. This tricky to see, but you will be able to tell. My ornaments are generally baked about 10-15 minutes. This will depend on the thickness you cut your ornaments and house pieces at. I like them a little more crispy, especially when we lived in the South where it was so humid. Remove from oven. Let them cool for a few minutes on the pan, then place on a cooling rack. Allow house pieces to cool completely before starting construction. This dough can be made a week in advance. It freezes well too. Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it!