Spicy gingersnaps for your Valentine

Crispy and spicy gingersnaps
Next to the homemade Valentines that my kids draw for me, I think that edible homemade Valentines are the best. Made from little cookies or cakes, these special treats are charming and sweet.

My kids, on the other hand, are so accustomed to homemade treats that heart-shaped cookies on Valentine’s Day are about as exciting as soda crackers. It’s the bought stuff they consider special. That’s why I tucked Caramilk bars under their pillows this morning.

Crispy and spicy gingersnaps

Classic gingersnaps are one of my favourite cookies and simple or not I consider them special. Cut into fun shapes they’re a delight to nibble. This recipe has a good amount of spice and the cookies bake up crispy. They can be dressed up with frosting or served just as they are. They’re the perfect cookie for dunking.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spicy gingersnaps for your Valentine

Adapted slightly from Martha Stewart

  • 2 ½ – 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs. ground ginger
  • ½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  1. Sift 2 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices, salt and pepper, then egg, vanilla and molasses.
  3. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add remaining ½ cup of flour until dough starts to feel stiff (you may have up to ¼ cup leftover).
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies in desired shapes and transfer to baking sheets.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes (you want them to be crisp but not dark)
  9. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely.

Crispy and spicy gingersnaps

 

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly email too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Here’s to eating well, everyday,

Bridget signature

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

 

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

Do you have any cookie recipes from your childhood that can transport you back in time?

This recipe does it for me. The smell of these cardamom scented gingersnaps baking makes me feel like I’m about five years old again and nibbling one takes me back to the kitchen table, a few days after Christmas, drinking hot chocolate out of big red Christmas mugs.

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

The reason why I recall eating them after Christmas is because this is a giant recipe. I always cut it in half but my mom would make the full batch. That’s nine whopping cups of flour. She’d stay up half the night rolling, cutting and baking, and if weren’t for the fact that these are so delicious, she would never have bothered.

It’s the cardamom that does it. There is something about the scent of cardamom that makes me think it should have a place in history right alongside gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Cardamom gingerbread cut out cookies

There are no eggs in this recipe and it includes whipped cream. Don’t let that throw you off. The texture of the dough is lovely to work with and the crispiness of the cookie can’t be matched.

These cookies are lovely in their simplicity. Use your favourite cookie cutters and cut holes in the cookies before baking if you’d like to hang them on the tree.

 Cardamom gingerbread cut out cookies

Cardamom scented gingersnaps

  • 1 ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 9 cups flour (lightly spooned)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Beat together butter and molasses.
  3. Beat in sugar and spices.
  4. With a wooden spoon fold in the whipped cream.
  5. Whisk together flour and baking soda then add to creamed mixture in three additions.
  6. Mix until just combined.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
  8. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half.
  9. On a very lightly floured surface roll to ¼” thickness. Cut into Holiday shapes.
  10. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 5-6 minutes. Watch closely.

Do you have favourite Holiday recipes that you make year after year? I’d love to hear all about them.

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

 

Bridget signature

 

 

 

 

Ginger Valentine cookies sandwiched with buttercream and raspberry jam

      Ginger cookies sandwiched with buttercream and raspberry jam

Homemade Valentine cookies say it all

When I was growing up we always celebrated Valentine’s Day at home. Mom would pack some sort of Valentine treat in our lunches (usually included spicy cinnamon heart candy) and then at supper we’d have a Valentine layer cake with strawberry jam filling.

This was definitely a “food” holiday in our house and very warming in the freezing month of February.

Once-a-year cookies are the best. When I was a kid, eating one of mom’s big heart-shaped cookies decorated with white frosting and red sprinkles made me feel extra special and very loved.

A box of chocolates, heart-shaped or not, can’t really compare. Do you agree? Or does it depend?

Valentine cookies: old-fashioned cut out cookies are gently spiced and filled with butter cream and raspberry jam.

To this day my favourite cookie cutters are heart shaped. Old and new, fluted and straight, I use them for biscuits as often as I do for cookies. (And sometimes they come in handy when we’re making homemade Valentines.)

Valentine Cookie cutters, hearts of all shapes and sizes

For these Valentine cookies I just used my Christmas cookie recipe with the spices subdued a bit. What can I say? It’s such a delicious recipe that I can eat it all year long. (Have you tried ginger cookies with s’mores or dipped in chocolate fondu?)

Ginger Valentine cookies sandwiched with buttercream and raspberry jam

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour (all purpose)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl mix butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat in egg and molasses.
  3. Add lemon juice.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture.
  5. When flour mixture is fully incorporated gather dough into a ball, cut in half and pat into two disks.
  6. Chill for one hour.

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼” to ½” thick and cut into shapes.
  3. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes.

For filling:

Butter frosting

  • 3 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk or cream
  1. In a medium bowl cream the butter. Stir in 1/2 cup of the icing sugar and 1 Tbsp of the milk.
  2. Mix until creamy and gradually add the remaining icing sugar.
  3. Add more milk bit by bit to get a good spreading consistency.
  4. Sandwich cookies with frosting, or jam, or frosting and jam!

 

Valentine cookies: old-fashioned cut out cookies are gently spiced and filled with butter cream and raspberry jam.

Assembly

Assembly 2

Prefer a decadent cake for your Valentine?

Try this rich gingerbread with chocolate and coffee  or this extra dense espresso gingerbread.

Gingerbread cut out cookie recipe for holiday decorating

Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

My mom has an amazing collection of cookie cutters, both old and new. Most are from long before I was born, some had been my grandmothers, and a few are newer designs that I bought her as gifts.

I always loved the cookie cutter drawer in our kitchen. I associated it with the best holidays of the year, since that’s the only time the cookie cutters came out.

My earliest baking memories are of making Christmas cut-out cookies that we’d then paint with tinted frosting and hang on the tree. We’d nibble away at them over Christmas and finish them off only when the tree came down. By then they were hard, a little stale, and in my memory, delicious.

Whole wheat gingerbread cut out cookies

The tradition has continued with my kids, although the cookies hardly last long enough to even be hung on the tree. Plus we have a big dog.

This gingerbread cookie recipe came with the moose cookie cutter I bought in Maine sometime in the early 1990’s. It was from the Purple Puma Cookie Company. Not sure if they’re still in the business of packaging cookie cutters with recipe cards and spice packets but I was a sucker for their designs.

The recipe didn’t include spices (because they came in a packet) so the spice blend is my own.

Gingerbread cut out cookie recipe

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour (all purpose or whole white)*
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp each, nutmeg, cloves

* This recipe lends itself well to stoneground flour which is more nutritious and flavourful.

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl mix butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Beat in egg and molasses.
  3. Add lemon juice.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture.
  5. When flour mixture is fully incorporated gather dough into a ball, cut in half and pat into two disks.
  6. Chill for one hour.

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼” to ½” thick and cut into shapes.
  3. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-10 minutes.

Simple icing:

  • 2 Tbsp. soft butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk or cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl mash the butter and add about half of the icing sugar. Mash them together for a bit then add 1 Tbsp. of milk and the vanilla. Mix well then add remaining icing sugar and more mild as needed. This icing should be a little runny for easy decorating.

 

Mix dough until blended well: 

Pat into two disks and chill:

I like to roll mine fairly thin (1/4 inch) so they hold their shape well.

To decorate, make a simple frosting of icing sugar and milk:

Start with 1 cup icing sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk. Mix well and add more icing sugar (or milk) as required to get a spreadable consistency.