Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cooking: Gingerbread Men and Peppermint Bark

The countdown to Christmas has finally begun. With the Christmas tree up and adorned in ornaments and pretty lights, presents hidden in secret places, and Christmas music taking over radio stations, I’m ready to just chill and celebrate the holiday season. However, with the amount of schoolwork and college applications I still have to work on, it’s been difficult to get into the holiday spirit. What do I do when I need a quick fix of joy? Well, I bake of course!

Christmas baking is one of the best things about the season. I love to cook, and I love to give away food that makes other people happy. Christmas baking is all about having fun, making a mess, and creating smiles. I always spend way too much time browsing websites and blogs for recipes the few weeks before Christmas. Everything looks so amazing; I just want to make it all!

Gingerbread men are definitely one of the most popular treats during Christmas. Why not make a few to stand by your deliciously decorated gingerbread house? These gingerbread men are just too adorable. How can you eat the little man staring back at you with that jolly smile? Well it’s sure no problem when they taste absolutely delicious. The aroma that comes out of the oven and into my nostrils when these treats are baking is simply to die for.

Peppermint is another flavor that makes bold appearances these last few weeks of the year. It adds a complexity to any dessert, and pairs perfectly with chocolate. I was not able to eat these treats because of my New Year’s resolution, but my friends and family told me they were delicious. There’s only ten more days before I can eat chocolate again! I’m definitely quite excited.

Because it's Christmas, let yourself enjoy some treats. While these gingerbread cookies are definitely not considered healthy, they do contain some healthy ingredients such as ginger and molasses. Molasses are a great source of iron, calcium, and manganese—all of which are essential minerals. As I’m sure you’ve heard before, chocolate can also be good for you. Just remember to splurge on little portions to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain.

Add finishing touches to these Christmas treats by wrapping them in cellophane, tying a ribbon around the package, and attaching a little note. Give them to friends and they will be the Christmas presents that everyone’s talking about.

Scrumptious homemade sweet treats are all people want for Christmas this year. Dive into the Christmas spirit and spread some joy to every girl and boy!

Gingerbread Men


½ cup trans fat free margarine
½ cup sugar
½ cup molasses
1 egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger

For the royal icing:
1 egg white
½ tsp lemon juice
1 ¾ cup confectioners sugar


1. In a large bowl, cream together the trans fat free margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into gingerbread men with cookie cutters. Place cookies on lined cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost and decorate when cool.

For the icing:
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and lemon juice together, adding the powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Fill a piping bag with the icing and pipe as desired.

Peppermint Bark


2 (12 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp peppermint extract
5 peppermint candy canes, crushed


1. Line a 9x12 inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt the semisweet chocolate with the oil in a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid burning.
3. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan and it spread to the sides. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces over the top. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hours.
4. Break into small pieces to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Make those gingerbread men for english? They look delectable.