Halloween Gingerbread Cookies

My dear friend, Meg, passed along her mother’s gingerbread cookie recipe to me years ago. It was her family’s holiday tradition to make and decorate Halloween cookies. She and I continued the tradition when I was still living in Tallahassee and I think the first year we made them together was when I was 9 months pregnant with Parker. I’ve made them every year since, even after I moved 500 miles away. As the years have passed, Parker has gotten to help with more of the process and I can’t wait until he can make these entirely by himself.

Here’s what you need:

½ cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup molasses or syrup (I prefer molasses)
½ teaspoon vinegar
3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream the shortening.  Add sugar, gradually cream through.  Blend molasses into this.  Sift 1 ¼ cups flour with baking soda, spices and salt.  Blend the flour mixture with molasses mixture.  Add vinegar.  Add remaining flour (2 ¼ cups), alternating with buttermilk.

Chill the dough for at least an hour – it will be much easier to work with. Using a liberal sprinkle of flour, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.

Once these cool, they are fantastic with lemon icing. Here’s the recipe for that.

Lemon icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
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