Yesterday was Winter Solstice, and in a few days, it will be Christmas. However and wherever you celebrate, I hope your holiday is filled with joy and light. Perhaps this year, friends and family will be joining you. For the first time, we’ll be celebrating Christmas with our two-year-old grandson, Henry. We’re excited! We’re also feeling deep gratitude. Henry was in the hospital just a few weeks ago (not Covid-related, and he’s home and better now), and he received exemplary care from medical staff who are overburdened yet continue to work very hard caring for people during these difficult times.
On a happier note, and with Henry still in mind, this year, we’ll be baking gingerbread cookies. You’ll find the recipe below. As a child, I never liked gingerbread. It was too bold a flavour for me. In fact, I was even lukewarm about gingerbread as an adult until I tasted my friend Vivien’s cookies. They’re more like Dutch speculaas than true gingerbread, and they are delicious. Enjoy!
1 cup/225 grams butter
1 cup/210 grams brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon/5 ml vanilla
2 ½ cups/375 grams all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon/5 grams baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons/4 grams cinnamon
½ teaspoon/1.5 g allspice
½ teaspoon/1.5 g nutmeg
½ teaspoon/1.5 g ground cloves
Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together and add to wet. Form into a ball of dough. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm (or until you’re ready to bake; I sometimes mix the dough up the day before). Lightly flour your counter or board. Roll dough to about ¼ inch/3.5 cm thick and cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Bake at 350 7 – 9 minutes. Cool and decorate. They’re also delicious unadorned! Makes about two dozen cookies.