Monday, December 17, 2007

Gingerbread Cookie Factory

It is that time of year again…for the annual gingerbread cookie factory. I made up the gingerbread dough a week ago, while heating left-overs before we headed for the Nutcracker Ballet. To my chagrin, I realized I didn’t have enough molasses! I made up the difference with honey.

Then I realized I had nowhere to roll it out! We got new laminate countertops last year, that look like black granite. To our surprise, the countertops we special ordered were textured! I couldn’t believe it! I was frustrated by that for some time, until I heard a designer on hgtv say those are desired for laminate countertops, because they give the appearance of real stone.  Well, I was glad to hear something good about that!  Nevertheless, we got a black granite laminate that was smooth, different series that looked more real, for our new master bathroom.  Sadly, that is so smooth, it shows all the water spots and wipe downs.  I now agree that textured laminate is great, at least the black granite.  They rarely look dirty!  But they are a pain when kneading/rolling out dough.

I had a difficult time rolling out the gingerbread dough last year.  I think I used parchment paper, but I was frustrated because it kept moving and wrinkling.  I used to have a really nice marble pastry board that I got from Lillian Vernon years ago. I still have the rolling pin. But a few years ago the pastry board broke. I was heartbroken. The advantage of using a stone like marble is that it’s easy to clean and the cold surface allows less flour to be used to prevent sticking. Over the year I researched my options and found only one place where I could find a good quality pastry board, William Sonoma. I could either get a large wooden one or another marble one. Both were about the same price. I decided to bide my time and wait for a good deal. Well, here it was time for a pastry board and no board. So Friday afternoon we got school work done early, so we headed to a large shopping mall about 30 miles north of us. It was cold, drizzly and crowded! Where in the world did all these people come from? Didn’t they belong at work or school? I thought I’d be avoiding the rush, going before school let out. Anyway, we got to William Sonoma and they had one wooden board left. I decided on that, because it wouldn’t break!

Here it is! It fits perfectly on the countertop...

...and has special measurement markings on the other side

Saturday we rolled out the dough...

...and cut out the cookies and baked them. Actually, the children were now old enough to do most of this themselves. They did a pretty good job of cleaning up.

This year I hit upon a design clean up solution! Vinyl tablecloths!

Why didn’t I think of those before?

We used an autumn vinyl tablecloth when carving the pumpkin.

The children love these so now we are all happy campers. =)

We ran to the store but couldn’t find any meringue powder at two stores. I wasn’t about to stress and at the second store I gave in…I bought those icings in a can. Turned out to be a good thing. DD had an awful time figuring out how to operate the can. The OT they had as toddlers/preschoolers would have loved it! This was a glorious opportunity to work on fine motor skills! DD got the hang of it! 

and decorated...

and decorated...

and decorated....

and decorated...(the white snowflake with blue middle with white middle has my name in white)

 Then they thoroughly cleaned the kitchen without my even asking them to do that! =)


  1. Their cookies look fantastic! I just love all of the bright colors. We have our ginger bread house and are going to put it together tomorrow or the next day :) Should be fun!

    Have a wonderful evening,


  2. They turned out so nicely. Love the vinyl tablecloth idea!

  3. Don't you love vinyl tablecloths!!! We use them for all kinds of crafting. I have my grandmother's antique, round tiger oak pedestal table. One summer . . . many, many years ago . . I found round vinyl tablecloths with elastic around the outer edge and a zipper from the outside to the inner hole. It was made for outdoor tables with umbrellas in the center. They were wonderful, and stayed put so much better than regular round ones. Sure wish I could find them again!

    But you know what, after all these years of searching, I just thought of something. I might as well make my own. Then I can skip the zipper and center hole and have a perfectly smooth surface. Duh! Thanks for triggering my brain!!!

    Hugs, Marsha

  4. We'll be baking tomorrow, though we like to stick to simple chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. You are so adventurous. Love the pastry board. I didn't know they made special ones like that. I use an old Tupperware plastic one and what a pain to clean. I'll have to put that on my list for next year. Telll your kids they did an awesome job on the decorating.

  5. What beautiful cookies Laurie!! Awesome job! Love all your pics! Whenever I can grab a plastic tablecloth off one of the tables after MOPS, I bring it home for messy craft projects, but if I don't happen to have any of those handy, I keep a clear vinyl shower liner on hand for messy things. Works great! (though it does have several paint stains now so I wouldn't use it for baking! LOL)