Giant Molasses Cookies

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Show of hands: how many of you guys ‘believed’ when you were little? Yes, I’m talking about Santa Claus. Let me see how many of you believed in him when they were kids.

Don’t be shy or embarrassed. My hand’s up.

I don’t regret my believing in him- in fact, I think that it made Christmas all the more exciting for us when me and my sisters. I’ll even admit that when I stopped believing in him, Christmas did kinda lose some of it’s magic for me. I was actually depressed for a while when my mom finally told me the truth.

Not that I’m not still in love with Christmas. I definitely am. This is gonna sound corny, but I’l say it anyway: it was hard to let go of the mystery and enchantment that’s behind the idea of Santa for a little kid. Believing it was just a lot of fun.

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Plus in my defense, if you guys knew what the lengths the adults in our house went to just to make the three of us ‘believe’, you’d understand why I did. They SERIOUSLY went out of their way.

First of all, our house didn’t have a fireplace or chimney. You’d think that would present an issue for the grown ups in trying to explain how Santa would get inside our house. I mean, we had an alarm system that got turned on at the end of every night. And Santa didn’t know the code, so we would’ve seen straight through that fib.

But nope; we got told that OUR house was very special, and that there was a ‘secret room/passageway’ that only Santa and the grownups knew about so that he could get in without setting off the alarm or using a chimney. I can still remember my mom smiling and giving me ‘hints’ about where the secret room was and how they accessed it. I also remember spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the secret lever, switch or button she told me was in the wall to find it for myself.

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One year we woke up on Christmas morning and got told to go outside and see ‘something’. Our roof was low enough so that if we took a few steps back from the house, we could see on top of it. When we went outside, we saw that there were 9 (yes 9, for every reindeer in the team) sets of ‘reindeer hood prints’ made in the snow on the roof, as well as boot foot prints that walked in a path.

C’mon, be honest. If you were a little kid wouldn’t that have convinced you a LITTLE bit?

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I wrote letters to Santa, but rather than ‘sending’ them to the North Pole ahead of time, my mom encouraged us to instead leave them for him to pick up on Christmas Eve night. Why? Well, because I didn’t write Santa telling him what I wanted for Christmas. That part wasn’t as interesting to me as was the ida of being to communicate with a ‘magical’ person. My letter for Santa was more like a game of 21 Questions: “What’s your favorite cookie?” “What’s Mrs. Claus’ first name?” “Why didn’t you two ever have your own kids?” “Are you and Jesus friends?” “Where’s the secret ‘switch’ in our house?”

Toys weren’t as important to me as finding out all that stuff. Because I was just weird like that.

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I have a very clear recollection of one year in particular where on Christmas morning, I woke up to the cookies being gone, and a detailed letter written to me in an unfamiliar handwriting answering every single one of my questions in a warm, appropriately jovial tone. There was even a little porcelain Christmas ornament next to the letter that Santa left for us as a ‘special gift’ from his ‘personal workshop’.

(Wasn’t my mom the greatest?)

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Day 4’s recipe of the 12 Days of Christmas Series on the blog is one of my personal favorites and another one that I’ve known I was gonna do for weeks. If I were to try and summarize Christmas in one bite (no small task), it would be in this cookie right here. Which is probably why the cookie isn’t small. It’s huge. Incidentally, so are the flavors; molasses and spice lovers will be doing Snoopy Dances with this recipe. And even if you’re not a molasses and spice lover, I still feel pretty confident that you’ll be dancing.

Just a reminder: if you’ve missed the other recipes we’ve done so far in the series, I’m including a list of links to them below. Until tomorrow!

12 Days of Christmas Banner

Day 1: Cranberry-Clementine Toaster Tarts

Day 2: Honey Roasted Peanut Popcorn Balls

Day 3: Mexican Chocolate Popcorn Balls

Day 4: Giant Molasses Cookies

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Giant Molasses Cookies


Recipe Courtesy of Taste of Home Magazine

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup coarse sugar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses.

2. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Refrigerate dough overnight or at least for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Scoop 1/4 cupfulls of dough and roll in coarse sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until tops are cracked. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Gingerbread

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12 Days of Christmas {Treats}

Hey guys, more Random Facts about Christmas coming your way:

  1. In 1999, residents of the state of Maine in America built the world’s biggest ever snowman. He stood at 113ft tall. (A part of me thinks that this is pretty cool…another part thinks that these people just had way too much time on their hands.)
  2. Many theologians estimate that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD. (I’m totally calling it guys: Jesus was born on September 27th….same day as yours truly ;-))
  3. MANY parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C. (Yeah, um…I’m not eating pine tree needles. Like, ever.)

Source

Gingebread1

Living in Michigan means that we generally get to go through all four seasons throughout the year. In the summer, it’s generally pretty hot, in the spring it’s cool and rainy, in the fall it’s chilly with golden trees, and in the winter it’s cold and snowy (most of the time). I like living in a place where I can have a ‘White Christmas’, but one of my longtime Christmas wishes/dreams is to actually be able to spend the holiday season (from about December 1st-January 2nd) someplace else.

New York City to be exact.

It;s bad enough that I’ve never been to the Big Apple (I know, that alone is a travesty), but every year that goes by without me getting to be in NYC during Christmas time does make me rather depressed. I’d love to be able to go skating and see the tree at Rockefeller Center, go and get lost in Macy’s, and of course be in Times Square for New Years Eve. I just want soak up the busy, electric atmosphere of the city. I’ve never been to New York, but I LOVELOVELOOOOVE Chicago, Atlanta and Boston, and if New York is anything like those places, then I know it’s where I belong. If I did still believe in Santa Claus, a Christmas in New York would be definitely be on my wish list of things to ask him for.

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I’ve actually wanted to make this recipe for a pretty long time now. It comes from a huge cookbook that my mom has had since I was a little girl. It’s supposed to be a cookbook/recipe encyclopedia that tells you how to basically cook EVERYTHING in life, with recipes as simple as pound cake, to as complicated as octopus. The photography is fancy and completely stunning. I’m waiting for the day that my pictures look as beautiful as the Recipe Encyclopedia’s. I used to flip through the book, marking off all the things I was gonna ask my mom to make for me. This gingerbread was one of them, and I must say that after years of suspense, it didn’t disappoint. The ginger and allspice are what really give this bread it’s flavor. It’s subtly sweet, with just the right amount of spice to give it a ‘bite’. Definitely a win for Christmas treats.

Today’s recommendation is for another music album, and yes, it’s from the 90’s. What can I say, that was the crux of my childhood. Plus, if you ask me, music in general was just better quality then. Vanessa Williams had some of her most successful years as a recording artist in the 90’s. My mom listened to her cassette tapes and CDs all the time, and I’m still a huge fan of hers now. All of her albums are fantastic, but I think that my favorite to this day is still her Christmas record, ‘Star Bright’. Vanessa has a smooth, velvety voice that’s very soothing and pleasant- perfect for music you can put on in the background while opening gifts on Christmas morning.

Favorite Tracks: “Star Bright,” “What Child is This?“, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “I Wonder as I Wander”, “The First Noel”, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

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Gingerbread

Recipe Courtesy of Recipe Encyclopedia

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light molasses
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°. Brush a deep 8 inch square cake pan with melted butter, line the base with paper; grease the paper.

2. Place the butter, brown sugar, molasses and water in a large pan. Cook over low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has completely dissolved. Cool slightly.

3. Add the lightly beaten egg to butter mixture.

4. Sift the flour, ground ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the butter and egg mixture; stir until the ingredients are just combined and moistened.

5. Spoon into the prepared cake pan; bake for 30 minutes, or until the gingerbread is cooked through.

6. Gingerbread may be served warm with whipped cream, or cold, dusted with confectioners’ sugar; or spread with butter.

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