Twenty-one years ago we invited my best friend and her two little boys over to make gingerbread cookies with our 1 year old son. It’s a holiday tradition that has continued in my house every year since.
Our families grew, the cookies changed from innocent creations to being pulled apart on the trays and mutated into whatever was popular at the time and for their ages. We’ve had cookies that were anatomically correct and a few years, instead of men the cookies became guitars and swords. And I have pictures of all seven kids growing up around my dining room table – smiling, happy and enjoying something together that they’ll remember forever.
This year, the oldest child is engaged and asked me if he could bring his fiance – because they want to continue our tradition and “it just wouldn’t be Christmas without coming and baking cookies!” Wow…I cried, and my heart swelled with pride – I’ve certainly done something right. This is certainly a tradition worth keeping and passing down.
Here is the Gingerbread recipe that was given to my by my mother-in-law twenty-one years ago and used every year since:
1 Cup margarine
1 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup dark molasses
2 tbs vinegar
5 Cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp all-spice
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
Beat margarine until creamy. Beat in sugar and salt. Stir in eff, molasses and vinegar. Beat well. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together. Stir into molasses mixture. (Dough will be STIFF) Chill dough at least 3 hours. Roll dough to approx 1/8 inch thick (up to you, really) on a lightly floured board or pasty sheet. Cut shapes with cookie cutter, decorate if desired (we load them up with all kinds of candy!) Place on a greased cooked sheet one inch apart at 375 for 6 minutes – or until light brown and puffed up. Cool slightly and remove to wire rack. If you prefer, you can decorate with royal icing after they’ve cooled. This same recipe can be used in molds to make houses and trains too. Makes approx 8 dozen.
What traditions did you start years ago became permanent parts of your holiday celebrations?
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