Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cooking with First Graders: Gingerbread Cookies

I have a wonderful cooking buddy at work. She has been cooking long before I became interested and is really involved with food. She has been on the Rachel Ray show, does food reviews for a local newspaper, and has been on a multi-month pizza tour reviewing pizza all over our state. I am lucky to have someone so experienced and talented. She and I have begun taking cooking classes at a local cooking studio. Our first one was last week on creating a "Holiday Buffet." We both learned so much that we instantly signed up for more classes- I can't wait.

When we were there this gingerbread recipe was made for gingerbread straws. After making the dough the chef covered it (and I mean covered it!) with extra fine sugar and rolled it out, than sliced it into thin strips. They were awesome. I was dying to give it a shot so I made them for my kids. We have been reading different versions of The Gingerbread Man all week and I wanted to do something fun with them. This time of year first graders have two things on their mind: presents and a week off of school. Needless to say it's hard to get their attention when they are daydreaming of PSPs, Xbox 360s, and Wiis.

I made the cookies and then gave them plastic knives and said GO! Well, I did give slightly more direction, but I let them do as they pleased with the decorations. It was a huge success- only one kid tried to cut his hand, only one kid licked the knife and stuck it in the communal frosting (that I know of) and only one kid claimed this was "too hard." They loved this activity and loved the cookies even more. I have to agree- this is a delicious recipe.

If you don't have all the spices below it's ok to omit them and increase the others. I used just cinnamon and ginger for the cookies for my kids because I know they would claim it was "spicy" if I added the rest. I loved it with the other spices and if I were making these for adults I would definitely use all the spices.

Source: My cooking instructor, Diane Albanese

3 3/4 cup flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tesp baking soda
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to lower and middle shelves and heat to 350.

Mix the first 7 ingredients and set aside. In a small bowl combine the molasses and water.

In a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses mixture than dry ingredients to form stiff dough, adding up to 1/4 cup of extra flour if the dough is sticky.

Refrigerate until firm- about 1 hour. Roll out on a well floured surface. Use a cooking cutter and cut shapes. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

**Can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen for up to a month.


  1. Yum!! WHERE is this local cooking studio, neighbor??? I want to sign up!!!!

  2. was this the year that i was your (1st grade) student? i don't remember doing this.