Have you ever had one of those days that was just perfect? A day when no matter what you did or experienced made you feel wonderful?
Well, I had a day just like that this holiday season. My wonderful day started very early in the kitchen preparing a batch of gingerbread cookies for the German-American Friends club in our community. The club was sponsoring a ‘Gingerbread’ fundraising event later in the day and I volunteered to be one of the many club members to bake cookies for it. Each volunteer was to bake 3 dozen cookies. The recipe for the giant gingerbread cookies was provided by the club.
Giant Gingerbread Cookies
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
1 -1/2 cups butter (3 sticks) room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup course or granulated sugar (topping)
*can substitute equal amounts with pumpkin pie spice
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl beat together butter with the 2 cups of granulated sugar. Scrape sides and beat until all combined. Beat in molasses and eggs. Beat in flour mixture using wooded spoon. (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer as dough is stiff. Also, make sure you stir all the way down to the bottom of batter and get all dry ingredients).
- Shape dough into 2 inch balls using 1/4 cup dough for each ball. Roll balls in the course granulated sugar. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350º degrees for 12- 14 minutes or until cookies are light brown and puffed. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to cooling rack. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or int he freezer for up to 3 months.
I managed to get 3 dozen plus 9 cookies. I kept the 9. I remember oh, so well when my children were young getting upset after watching me cook/bake and then wrapping everything up and bringing the end results of my efforts away. They did not like that at all. So, over time I started making two of everything; two batches of cookies, two cakes, and two casseroles, whatever so as not to disappoint the family. Trust me this made for much better family relations, smiles and hugs all around. Randy was very happy with this decision enjoying a test cookie and knowing there were more when we came back home.
I took the cookies up to the clubhouse and dropped them off and watched as the event chairman, Chris Carroll was hard at work setting up the ballroom for the next phase of this wonderful fundraising event.
Many other volunteers had been tasked to create beautiful themed baskets filled with a variety of purchased/donated items as well as baking and creating gingerbread houses that would be raffled off later that day.
I was able to get a sneak peak of some of the wonderful themed baskets but, unfortunately not the gingerbread houses. Randy and I were heading north this holiday season to be with our children and grandchildren and I thought it would be great to bring along one of the houses for the grandchildren.
We returned to the clubhouse and, while he was enjoying some gingerbread cookies and coffee I set about to look at all the baskets and houses. On the way into the clubhouse I said smiling, “I really don’t know why I ever buy tickets for a raffle, we have lived here for over ten years and I have never won anything”. But, I added, “I have to remember that the money being raised is for a good cause”.
With that thought, I purchased many tickets as it was so hard to make a decision everything was so beautiful. There were game baskets, a wine basket, a coffee basket, a golf basket and many others. One of my favorites was the recipe basket. It was filled with cookbooks, cooking utensils and two fun gingerbread tree ornaments. I quietly put my tickets into the bags in front of several baskets all the while hoping I would be lucky enough to win the recipe basket. Oh, my, like everyone else gathered i was filled with anticipation as Randy and I enjoyed several gingerbread cookies and cups of hot coffee.
Time came for the drawing and the room fell silent. The basket I really wanted was #3. Basket number one was called, then basket number two and then basket number three was called. Oh, my, was that my name? Wow, it was! I was so excited.
This beautiful basket contained four cookbooks; The All New Basic Cookbook; Paula and Friends Living It Up, Southern Style; Emeryl’s There’s A Chef in my Soup; and, Wraps. Also in the basket was a recipe keeper, a Wilson cookie pan, two spatulas, dish towels , dish clothes, gingerbread cookie mold, gingerbread pot holder, gingerbread candle, spoon spatula, a boy and girl gingerbread ornament, and a lovely basket. I plan to share some of these wonderful treasurers with my girls who are wonderful cooks in their own right.
Now imagine my surprise and excitement when once again my name was called for the one and only gingerbread house I had taken a chance on. To say that I had a smile on my face would be such an understatement. I fairy glided up to the front of the room to pick my up prize all the while seeing in my heart and mind the smiles on my grandson Derek and granddaughter Madalyn’s faces when I bring it to their home for the holidays. Life is good!!!!!
Thanks to so many club members donating their time and talents and resident’s generosity participating in the raffle, the club was able to make a nice donation to a local food bank.