Eight o’clock comes and I kiss everyone goodnight.
Ferdinand: Are you ever going to go to bed at the right time again Mom?
Mom: This is my new right time.
It can be tempting to not only change your bedtime, but your whole list of everything you have to do to a big fat nothing to do list. But you can’t. You know why? Some things cant’ be cut.
No matter what, hell and highwater or low water, Ferdinand and I make at least one gingerbread house. Tips for keeping the love and the gingerbread house in one piece:
1. Make the dough ahead of time. No one has time or the patience to wait two hours for it to be in the fridge after they make the dough and before they make the house. If you don’t though, it will do nothing but cause trouble, sticking to your pin and your last working nerve.
2. Save a cardboard half gallon juice or milk container. Cut the triangular top off about 3 inches from where it makes the bend. Cut the bottom of the container about 3 inches from where it hits the counter. Wash and dry them well. Fit them together so that it looks like a really short milk container or if you squint: a gingerbread house! Make a pattern by tracing the outside edges of the houses on a piece of paper. Cut the patterns out. Roll out your gingerbread, placing the patterns for each side of the house on the gingerbread. Cut the pieces out and place the pieces on a greased cookie sheet. Make extras just in case. You can always eat them. Cut the rest of the dough into whatever shapes you like. If you want to hang the others, just wiggle the end of a chopstick into the cookie before it bakes, leaving at least a quarter inch at the top. When it cools, thread it with ribbon.
When the pieces have cooled, frost the backs, and place the two triangular shapes on the two edges of the “roof” and the square shapes along the side. You may have to cut out the pour spout on the container first. Don’t worry about the hole.
Decorate with more icing and loads of candies.
Grandma Evelyn’s Ginger bread men
4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger (make sure it’s good)
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (I added this)
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 cup soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of corn syrup
1/2 cup of light molasses
Sift the dry ingredients together. Make a well. In the well, beat with your hand, the butter with the sugar and then add the eggs. Beat again. Add molasses and corn syrup. Combine everything. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out with a big bowl of cookie cutters and a little knife to carve out what you want, in case you don’t have the right cutter.
Mix a little water with enough 10X sugar to make a slightly stiff frosting (needs to come through the tube, but you don’t want it to by runny.) I add a drop of vanilla. Make a pastry tube with wax paper or parchment and pipe on the faces and clothing. Don’t restrict yourself to what people expect.