The lovely Roxana of Illuminated Perfume recently invited me to be part of her holiday blogging collaborative and I just couldn't pass up this fun opportunity! It's a blog-o-rama Advent-ure which began on November 29, correlating with the first day of advent. Each day, a different blogger adds their sparkle to this gathering of light by sharing their thoughts and memories about scents and the holidays. Today I light a candle with my contribution and by Christmas Day, all the candles on the tree will be lit.
In true lillyella fashion, when I think of scents and the holidays, I think of food and crafting — my two favorite things! Does crafting have a scent, you ask? You bet it does! The aroma of bubbling hot glue, the smell of my sewing machine engine working at high speed, dried lavender, I could go on and on.
When it comes to food, that pretty much speaks for itself, but there is one scent that unmistakably says Christmas for me, and that's gingerbread. It's the only time of year I bake my favorite gingerbread cookies, which I now, in my seventh year of doing so, have my friends, family and neighbors asking for come December 1st.
The recipe is simple, but it's one I adapted and perfected over a few batches many years ago. The perfection lies in not overcooking them, but only if you like 'em soft and chewy. If not, this recipe isn't for you.
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, or shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside. In a medium/large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar and molasses, then mix in the egg.
Add the sifted dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix well. Chill in the freezer for about an hour or in the refrigerator 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 350°. Roll out a portion of the dough about 1/4" thick on a lightly floured surface or silicone cooking sheet. Keep the remaining dough chilled while working.
Cut out with cookie cutters and and place on greased cookie sheets or sheets lined with silicone mats. Bake for 8-10 minutes (depending on cookie size) and don't overbake! They should be pretty soft when they come out and almost seem like they aren't done yet. That's the key to their deliciousness :)
Let cool completely before decorating with icing, candy pieces, powdered sugar or cinnamon and enjoy!
You can follow along with the rest of this collaborative blogging Advent-ure by visiting the Illuminated Perfume Journal each day to see the next contribution. Happy Holidays!