Gingerbread Chickens

013                        “Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me…… I’m the Gingerbread Man!”……………  “Wanna’ bet” said the Gingerbread CHICKENS.010
Ok….it might be a bit of a stretch, but maybe it’s time to change things up a bit and Mr. Gingerbread Man could show some good cheer and share some of the festive spotlight with…..the CHICKEN. After all, what contributions has the Gingerbread Man made to our palates besides…a cookie and the odd cake or loaf? Last time I checked, it wasn’t bacon & gingerbread or gingerbread Benedict or…..well…you get the picture.

So last weekend, Non-Egg Eating Daughter and myself decided to make some Christmas gingerbread cookies. I’m quite aware that the “cookie making window” may be closing for us as I try to compete with One Direction, trips to the mall,  iPads and Tumblr. Maybe she’s just humoring her Old Man, but I’ll take what I can get. We’ve been Christmas baking together for a number of years and I’m glad that she’s doing it once again.

This is an easy cookie recipe and fun to make with kids. Non-Egg Eating Daughter helps with making the dough and then she takes complete control of the “cookie cutting” and decorating roles. I hope you give it a try and maybe make some less traditional gingerbread cookies besides the gingerbread man.

Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter melted & cooled

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar packed

1/4 cup water

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.027

In another bowl, mix together butter, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth. 028             Stir in dry ingredients – one-third at a time until completely combined.  Roll dough into a tight ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.  *If time is tight and outside temperature is conducive, divide your dough into thirds and place your bowl of dough outside for a faster chill.002

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Ferinheight.  On a lightly floured  surface, roll a portion of the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Leave the rest in the fridge or outside.  Cut into desired shapes and space cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.005

Bake for 10-12 minutes and remove from baking sheet to cool on racks.

Decorate with icing  (1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with a few drops of water).

“Well…..thanks again Non-Egg Eating Daughter.  It wouldn’t be Christmas for me if we didn’t get the chance to bake together!  Now…go clean up your room  before your Mom freaks out again!”

012

Christmas Biscotti

016 - Copy“OK……….there’s gingerbread men, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles and a host of other Christmas cookies, but where the heck are the biscotti??????????????????????  Well……I’m glad to report that Christmas Biscotti has made its introduction at City Boy Hens.  I came up with the recipe by adapting my original biscotti recipe Click Here and some inspiration from my Christmas Fruit Cake recipe Click Here.  These cookies are easy to make and look very festive.  But, best of all, they are not loaded with sugar and butter which seem to be a common thread in a lot of other Christmas cookies.

*For the purpose of this post, I have made two separate biscotti recipes.  This will allow you to sample 2 different loaves in one try.  If you are partial to one recipe, than double the ingredients in bowl #1 or #2 (see below).

Directions:

Beat 1/3 cup of room temperature butter for 30 seconds.

Combine 2/3 of a cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder & 1/2 a teaspoon of salt with the butter.

Beat in 2 farm fresh eggs.007

Stir in 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/3 at a time until completely mixed.  Form into a ball and divide in half.009

In two separate bowls combine the “Christmas” ingredients:

Bowl #1

1/2 cup chopped candied cherries   001 - Copy

3/4 cup dried currants

1/2 cup chopped almonds

zest of 1 navel orange

1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

Bowl #2

1/2 cup of chopped dried cranberries003 - Copy

1/2 cup of chopped pistachios

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract

Remove one half of the dough from your mixing bowl and set aside.  Add the “Christmas” ingredients from bowl #1 to your dough.  Need until all ingredients are completely combined and evenly distributed in the dough.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.  Using the palms of your hands, press and shape the dough until it is around 10 ” long and 5″ wide.  Gently lift  up the dough and place it on one side of a cookie sheet.

Repeat this process for bowl #2.011 - CopyBake at 375 Ferinheight for 20-25 minutes or until loaves are golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.012 Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti into 3/4″ strips and transfer back on to a cookie sheet and bake at 325 F for another 8 minutes/ side.015 - CopySo….there you have it……..Christmas Biscotti.  Move over gingerbread men and sugar cookies.  There’s a new cookie moving into the festive spotlight.  I hope you give it a try! Buon Natale!016 - Copy