Monday, December 10, 2012

Family Holiday Fun: Homemade Gingerbread Men (+ Bonus Snowstorm!)

Over the weekend the girls and I made gingerbread men for the first time. It was so much fun; I definitely recommend it if you have kiddos old enough to, uh, not drive you absolutely insane while trying to make homemade gingerbread men. (Let's face it: some holiday activities are just not very fun with toddlers.)

I had mixed up and chilled the cookie dough in advance on Friday, using Martha Stewart's famed recipe (although I halved it), which is just as AMAZINGLY TASTY as its reputation suggests. You guys, this gingerbread cookie recipe calls for ground black pepper. Yes. I'm serious. Along with the large amounts of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, the pepper makes these cookies perfectly snappy and zesty -- a true, spicy gingerbread cookie. YUM. So delicious.

(Note: instead of the icing included in Martha's cookie recipe, I made homemade cream cheese frosting. I know it doesn't dry hard like Martha's classic meringue-powder icing, which is a problem, but I wanted icing that really tastes delicious.)

Aside from one very uncharacteristic kitchen disaster that was 100% my own fault and which necessitated the THROWING OUT of two entire sheets of gingerbread men (oy, it just about killed me; thankfully there weren't too many men on each sheet), everything went splendidly.

Of course the most exciting part was the icing and decorating.

supplies at the ready

my co-bakers

Some of us iced and decorated our gingerbread men in a decorous, restrained manner:

Others embraced the "more is more" philosophy:

In the end, we had a whole neighborhood of cheery and festive gingerbread people...

....which tasted delicious.

I love this cookie recipe so much I'm considering making another half recipe sometime soon, and using it to cut out other holiday shapes, like stars, bells, and trees. I think I'll stick with a simple dusting of colored sugars as decoration for those, however. I'm pretty sure we've surpassed some sort of reasonable limit of icing and candy usage in our house at this point.

Seriously, try this recipe. Then let me know what you think. And how you decorated them. Joy to the world, indeed.

Oh---I almost forgot---and this also happened:

 our backyard, mid-afternoon Sunday

We actually got more snow than these photos suggest, as it kept snowing the rest of that day and evening. I haven't heard an official snow total yet, but people seem to think about 7 or 8 inches around here. And even me, Ms. Winter-Hater, thinks snow is beautiful and lovely in December. It's the rest of the year I'm concerned with.

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