As you may or may not know, I am not an expert baker. My attempts are infrequent and my successes fleeting. But I sure felt like a star after I made these gingerbread cookies and watched them quickly disappear at a toddler’s birthday party, particularly when I saw adults also going back for more. And more. The cookies were soft, chewy and not overpoweringly sweet. They were, if I may say so, perfect.
No need to gasp aloud when I tell you that I had never made gingerbread cookies before. I thought it would be a good time to try this recipe since I wanted to bring something to the party that was sweet, simple and easy to serve. Plus, the party hosts had just moved into a new house and I just happened to have a house-shaped cookie cutter in the back of my cupboard that I had never used before. Quite frankly, I don’t remember when or where I bought it but I do know that at the time, I wanted to start making house-shaped cookies as my go-to house warming gift. I wonder how many house warming parties I’ve been to with no house-shaped cookies in hand, and the cookie cutter waiting patiently in my drawer to be used.
I made the dough the night before the party and refrigerated it until the next morning. I was waiting for the dough to be soft enough to roll but, to me, it felt too firm. I kneaded it with my hands to warm it up some more and then decided to just forge ahead and see what would happen. Placing the dough between two sheets of waxed paper was brilliant (and something I had never heard of before). The dough didn’t stick to the rolling pin and there was no mess at all (unlike other cookie-making attempts in my past). I did wish I had a better rolling pin, though. My plastic, hollowed-out, dollar-store variety rolling pin literally cracked under the pressure of rolling out the dough. I must invest in a wooden rolling pin. I’m nearly 39 years old – how can I not have a wooden rolling pin in my possession?
I happily used my house-shaped cookie cutter and then changed it up with a couple other shapes to finish off the dough. I counted the number of cookies that I had formed and there weren’t 50. It was more like 30-something. My cookie cutter shapes weren’t particularly large but perhaps if you made a series of just ½ inch balls then you would end up with 50 cookies. In any case, 30-something would do just fine!
I carefully watched the cookies while they baked: since the dough is dark to begin with, I didn’t want to miss the crucial turning point of the edges darkening. At just a little past seven minutes I took them out of my oven and placed them on a cooling rack. They looked good. Yes, real good. I tried to wait for them to cool down but I had to try one. After all, if they didn’t turn out I would need a contingency plan for what to bring to the party just a few hours away.
Happily, they were delicious. I snapped some photos, packed up the house-shaped cookies into a container and set the others aside for my husband and toddler. I will have to make more of these again. And soon!