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Gingerbread Bears

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

Day 10 of The 12 Cookies of Christmas

For some reason, our family doesn't often make gingerbread at the holidays. (I'm bringing it back this year!) The last time I actually remember eating this particular cookie was in kindergarten. We were reading the gingerbread man story by Jim Aylesworth, and our class project was to make a trap and catch that rascally fast gingerbread man. All the students brought their traps to school, and when we returned from music class down the hall, we would find out who was successful in catching him. Wouldn't you know it, but my trap had worked! I don't remember much of it, besides a crude construction of string and two large pans. Anyhow, it was great fun as we proceeded to decorate the gingerbread man. The size of a baking sheet, he was! HUGE in the mind of a 5-year-old. He then served as our afternoon snack, to be enjoyed with a small carton of milk. Ah, memories. :)

As I said, I'm bringing gingerbread back for this 12 Cookies of Christmas series! I scrounged up this Taste of Home recipe, which is Test Kitchen Approved and featured in their Top Ten Christmas Cookies. Being from the northwoods of Wisconsin, I thought gingerbread bears would be awfully cute.

My Notes

  • Chill out

Chilling the dough thoroughly is essential to having a workable dough. The recipe suggests 30 minutes in the fridge, however I found it was still sticky and pulling apart by that point. I kept mine in for a full hour, and then it was much easier to roll out.

  • Mulling over molasses

I've heard some horror stories about using blackstrap molasses in gingerbread. Avoid it like the plague, they said. Your cookies will be horribly bitter, they warned. But alas, it was the only molasses we had on hand. I did the unthinkable and used that blackstrap molasses, and the cookies turned out just fine. Marvelous, in fact. :)

  • A perfect 10

The bake time on these ranges from 8-10 minutes. I chose to go the full 10. At the 8 minute mark, I was able to press my finger into the cookie yet, so I figured they could go longer. I was determined to achieve the "snap" that Mary Berry always looks for when testing gingerbread. And, drumroll please ... I did! All in all, it was a good bake.

'Til next time,


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Thank you for sharing this recipe. It brought back childhood memories of my grandma making these cookies the morning of January 6th to enjoy while we put away our Christmas decorations on Epiphany. I still wait to put away the decorations until the 6th or 7th but didn't keep the gingerbread tradition going. Will have to fix that!

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