I called the hardware store, because technically they are the information clearing house for the town, and spoke to a mother who wouldn't judge me too harshly if I had, indeed, missed Halloween. I didn't miss it! But, Halloween was scheduled for that very night and you could only trick-or-treat from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Panic truly arose because we had not carved the pumpkins, made the popcorn balls and ghost cookies, or gotten the costumes ready and 5:30 was only four hours away. How can a town change a holiday and not tell the general public? At first I thought we didn't know because the children don't go to the school, but my mother didn't know until I told her so she wouldn't be embarrassed by not having candy when the hordes arrived, and we trick-or-treated at someone's house who didn't have any candy. So, I wonder how were we supposed to find out that trick-or-treating on a Wednesday interferes with church, so it can't be done. In spite of my confusion, I knew I had to get my side show into gear so the one trick-or-treater who usually comes to our house would not be disappointed because I chose not to buy store-bought, chemical laden candy this year.
First thing I did was tell the children that tonight was the night. Next, I asked K to start popping corn while I started boiling honey and sugar for the candy. Once all twenty four cups of popcorn were coated and formed, and we had eaten all the scraps we moved on to the Gingerbread Ghost Cookies. Miracle of miracles I had already made the dough and had it chilling in the fridge, so all we had to do was roll, cut, and bake. Of course, we had to decorate too, but all the icing was white, so was easier.
At 5:30 our first and only trick-or-treaters arrived while we were still in frenzied, slinging mode. The cookies weren't dry. OK, they weren't all decorated either. We were still cutting the pumpkins and Princess' hair was still in rollers because she was going for that curly-haired fairy look. I told the mom, the same one I called at the hardware earlier in the day, that I would bring the cookies tomorrow. I will, if I don't eat them before I get downtown. These cookies are soooo good. I got the recipe got from Williams Sonoma when I bought a copper, snowflake cookie cutter when I had the bright idea to decorate our seven foot Christmas tree exclusively with iced, gingerbread snowflakes. That is a story for a different time, but here is the recipe. Of course, I changed it a little.
Ginger Molasses CookiesAdditional tips:
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ginger, Ground
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon, Ground
1 tsp Cloves, Ground
1 tsp Salt
¾ cup Butter
1 cup Sugar, Brown
¼ cup Molasses, Dark
1 recipe Royal Icing
Sift together dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Shape dough into a ball, wrap with wax paper, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Cover baking sheets with parchment, silpat liners, or butter them profusely. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut cookies. Bake until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely if you are going to ice them.
3 ea Egg Whites -- room temperature
4 ½ cups Sugar, Powdered
½ tsp Cream Of Tartar
1 pinch Salt
In an electric mixer combine all ingredients. Beat on medium high until stiff peaks form and mixture is nearly triple in volume. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- You really need to double the recipe for the cookies, but not for the frosting if you want everything to work out evenly.
- For cookies exclusively for eating I use only butter, but if you use this recipe for a gingerbread house or for decorating a Christmas tree you really do need to use use some margarine or shortening to produce sturdier cookies.
- Honey is a great substitute for the molasses, especially stronger flavored, fall honey, but can you really have gingerbread without molasses.
- The Royal Icing recipe gives you basic icing which is for details and to outline the designs before filling in. To create the run out, just add a touch of water to create a less stiff consistency. Practice is the only teacher here. You don't want too much water because the more liquid icing will make the cookies less sturdy and will take oh so long to dry. You don't want too little water because then you won't get that smooth, puffy consistency that truly makes the cookie.
Isn't the packaging shown in the last picture winsome. My sister-in-law in Memphis always thinks of the cutest things. My goody bags will look like this next year!!!