My mother held onto her secret Gingerbread cookie recipe practically her entire life. Baking the cookies was her expression of creativity and love for the family. Even after I grew up, moved to a different city and had kids of my own, my mother always sent me a care package at Christmas – a box full of lovingly baked trees, bells and stars. Oh, I had tried other recipes, but somehow the cookies never tasted quite the same and I always welcomed my mother’s batch for the holidays.
The year my mother was gravely ill, I asked her to relinquish her hold on the exclusive recipe. She acquiesced reluctantly. Her intestinal flora had succumbed to all the drugs she was taking. She could no longer eat half the ingredients in the dough. She was too weary to bake anymore.
I amended her formula, substituting for the food items she no longer tolerated. It only took me three tries, but I landed with a relatively tasty batch my mother could eat. It had no wheat, no syrup or molasses, no diary and no eggs. I lovingly mailed her a care package full of special cookies. She phoned me in tears. “You gave me Christmas, Kate. I can’t tell you what this means to me!” It was her last Christmas with us; she passed away shortly thereafter.
I now bake my mother’s gingerbread cookies every Christmas and lovingly mail a batch to my father – a taste of years gone by, just like my mother had done for me.
I feel this recipe should not be exclusive any longer. Here is my gift to you – my mother’s original recipe.
3/4 cup – regular sugar or brown sugar
½ cup – sugar syrup (Golden Syrup)
¾ cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
½ cup whipping cream
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare cookie sheets.
Mix dry ingredients: flour, spices and baking soda.
Beat the butter, sugar, syrup, cream.
Stir in the flour mixture. I adjust the spices through taste and add extra sprinkles of whatever I think it needs. Finish stirring the mixture.
Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.
Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters. For the size of cookies I make, this works perfectly. Keep extra dough chilled until you’re ready to use it.
Bake 12 minutes. (Baking time will vary based on your oven and thickness of the dough.)
Let them cool and start tasting. I do.