Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Amma's Gingerbread Cookies

Today's recipe comes with a neat family story.

First off, who's Amma? When my daughter was a baby, this wonderful woman took care of her, and this is the name that my daughter gave her. Along the way, our two families sort of "adopted" each other, giving us more sisters/brothers/cousins and a lot of fun and love along the way.

And so, about the cookies. When Amma and her husband were raising their kids, there wasn't a lot of extra money for Christmas ornaments, so she made gingerbread cookies, decorated them with frosting and hung them on the tree. This was such a hit that she continued to do them every year and has added "family members" far and wide, not only by her children getting married and having their own families, but a lot of other "adopted" family too.

Each year we look forward to the box that arrives at our door step now that we live far away from Amma. We hang gingerbread cookies on our tree too! This year's box was extra special....Amma even included a cookie for our daughter's new fiance!

And so, here is the recipe for the cookies, and one for frosting to decorate them with. (Note: this recipe makes about 6 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies, but it doubles quite well)

Amma's Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup molasses
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp soda
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ginger

Heat molasses to just boiling, remove from heat to mixing bowl.

Stir in shortening and soda and mix well.

Shift together the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger. Add gradually to molasses mixture and blend until it forms a stiff dough.

Chill for 30 minutes (not longer than this or its too hard to roll these out). Roll very thin -- about 1/16 of a inch thick. Cut out cookies into desired shapes.

Place on lightly greased (using cooking spray is easiest way) baking sheet.

Back at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, until set. DO NOT OVERBAKE (they will taste bitter if you do).

Cool on racks, decorate as desired.

Easy Icing

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cream OR 3/4 tbsp water

Mix well, divide into seperate bowls for different colors and add food colors of choice.

To make piping bags to decorate with, put frostings in zip top sandwich bags and snip off a tiny corner to make an opening to squeeze the frosting through.

I'd love to see some pictures of your version!

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