I’m very honored by the compliments that I get on my baking. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my practicing and I do have to say I think that that practice has paid off. I’m good at it.
However, if I’m being completely honest with myself and all of you, then I have to admit that my baking skills wouldn’t be half of what they are now without a little…help.
That ‘help’ is modern amenities–specifically, automated mixers. I can’t imagine my kitchen life without my KitchenAid standing mixer, and I really don’t want to try.
It makes me sound like such a young, first-world brat to say that, but it’s true. Me and that mixer are joined at the hip. I think I might love it. I think of how women used to make cakes with nothing but the strength of their wrists to whip enough air into the batter to make them rise and be moist on the inside, and I’m just in awe.
Cause, no. I’m good…but I’m just nowhere near on that level.
Biscuits, brownies, pie crust, quick breads and muffins are all exceptions to the rule–you kinda SHOULD make those by hand. Breads are tricky–there are some recipes that I think I could get away with going without my KitchenAid, but others like brioche sure aren’t one them. Even most cookie recipes require the butter in them to be whipped up pretty good with the sugar before you add anything else to it.
Notice that I said MOST. Why?
Go ahead and guess.
Yep. This is a from scratch cookie dough recipe where neither a standing mixer or hand mixer is needed. You really can put this all together with a wire whisk using nothing more than your hands. Rather than being softened and whipped with the sugar, the butter is pre-melted and cooled. The dough is sweetened with a combination of honey and brown sugar.
Since it’s a dough that can be made sans mixers, you can guess that it’s a cinch to put together. You really can’t mess it up.
Apart from being so easy to make, I think one of my favorite things about making these was that the dough was very good for making cut out cookies that hold their shape and stamp impressions even after baking. I had a set of three Christmas themed ones that I broke in with this recipe and they came out just perfect. However, if you don’t have cookie stamps or they’re just not your thing, then you really don’t have to use them. If you wanted to just roll these out and cut them out with a gingerbread man cutter, it would still be great. The ‘spice’ factor isn’t as strong in these as it is in other gingerbread cookies, but you’ll definitely still be able to taste a gingery, caramelized flavor. They’re delicious plain but they’d also taste great iced if you prefer that too.
So, now all you mixer-less folks have no excuse: get baking, will ya?
Just one more recipe left in the 12 Days of Christmas. Be on the look out for it, and be sure to check out the other recipes in the series if you haven’t seen them all yet.
Honey Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Special Equipment: cookie stamps/molds of choice
In a small bowl, melt the butter and cool slightly.
In the bowl of a standing mixer,or using a hand mixer, (or a in a large bowl using a wire whisk) combine the beaten egg, honey, milk and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Beat into the egg mixture, then slowly beat in the melted butter.
Add the flour in 1 cup increments, mixing until it forms a soft and slightly sticky dough.
Collect dough into one mass, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Divide dough in quarters and keep the other 3 in the refrigerator while you roll out the first. Roll dough out on a clean and floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Dip your cookie stamps into powdered sugar, then tap to remove excess. Press firmly into the dough, then gently remove stamped cookie and place on sheet pan. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the dough.
Freeze cut out cookie dough for 25-30 minutes. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, just until bottoms start to turn golden brown. Allow to set on sheets for about 60 seconds before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
(Note: You don’t HAVE to use cookie stamps for this recipe. I think it would work just as well without it. Use whatever cookie cutters you have, or shape the dough into a log, freeze for about 30 minutes, then cut into slices and bake as directed. Also, no one oven is the same, & different baking sheets bake cookies differently. Keeping this in mind, I will ALWAYS test bake one cookie before baking entire sheets of the whole batch, just to get a good idea of how long they should be in the oven and if I need to adjust the way I’ve cut, rolled them out, etc. I highly recommend that you do the same.)