My very favorite Christmas tradition is to make Gingerbread Houses. As a young girl, there were a couple years when I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house and helped decorate them. They are truly a work of art. We usually made 2 or 3, and when they were done, we'd take them to a few families who could use a little cheering up that year.
We have continued the tradition, and it is so wonderful to see the faces on the recipients as they admire the details and wonder why we chose to single them out.
This year was my first time making the dough myself, and I didn't have quite enough to make all the pieces of the houses. I had to make a second batch, but I ran out of ginger. Robby assured me that it wouldn't matter, since it was just a spice anyway. I substituted pumpkin spice and made cookies from the remaining dough. Let me tell you. These cookies were amazing! Don't be fooled by the pumpkin spice. They don't taste like pumpkin cookies at all. They taste like gingerbread bursting with flavor.
Ginger Spice Cookies
2 C Butter
2 C Brown Sugar
1 C Light molasses (not blackstrap)
7 C Flour
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (which is cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice)
2 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Baking Soda
Cream butter and sugar together. Blend in the molasses. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and baking soda.
When ingredients are mixed, the dough is kind of crumbly. If it's very crumbly, use your hand to put a little water into it.
Place the dough on the back (yes, the back) of a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick.
Bake dough at 350 for 9-11 minutes.
While the dough is still hot, cut out desired shapes with cookies cutters or a knife. (If using for houses, you bake for 12 minutes. Then you can put crushed jolly ranchers in the windows for stained glass, and bake an additional 4 minutes.)
When the dough cools, frost and decorate. Yum! (You can probably make them the traditional way, too, and cut them before the dough cooks, but I just did them like the houses.)