Grandma’s Spiced Gingerbread
This spiced gingerbread recipe is the most special recipe I’ve ever posted for two reasons. One, because it’s my late grandma, Peggy Sue’s recipe. It’s famous in our family because it’s the perfect super spiced gingerbread recipe with tons of great molasses flavor and spices like woah. And two, because this is the last recipe I’m going to post on Brewing Happiness. (More on that in a minute.)
Let me tell you a little bit more about the spiced gingerbread men recipe first. When my dad was in college, Peggy would send him these gingerbread men in the mail and he and his friends would flock to the packages and fight over them. My dad still asks for them every year (and for good reason), because they’re the best gingerbread you’ll ever have. They’re soft in the middle and crispy on the edges. This is partially because my grandma always used a large gingerbread cutter (I’ve linked to the one I used here, I think it’s the same size she used.)
The dough itself is slightly high maintenance. Here are a few key tips to success on these…
- Use Grandma’s molasses. This isn’t sponsored, it’s just what my grandma used and I tried using other brands and they just don’t work as well with this recipe.
- The flour needs to be spooned and leveled into you measuring cup (or for best results, measure by weight) otherwise the dough is too dry.
- You have to chill it overnight, and when you’re rolling it out and cutting it, it will soften and you may have to pop it back in the freezer so that it holds it’s shape as you transfer it to the cookie sheet.
- Use the largest sized gingerbread man cookie cutter, this will ensure the crispy-chewy texture. If you can’t find a large one, change the baking time to around 9 minutes.
Other than that, it’s all pretty straightforward. There aren’t videos for this recipe, simply because I didn’t have time to put them up (maybe I will one day), but for now just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine.
Grandma's Spiced Gingerbread Recipe
This is my Grandma's Spiced Gingerbread Recipe made the old school way with shortening, molasses, and tons of spices for crispy-chewy cookie perfection.
- 250 g (2 C spooned and leveled) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 c vegetable shortening
- 1/2 c molasses use Grandma's molasses
- 1 egg yolk
In a medium bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, molasses, and shortening. Scrape down the bowl at least once, and ensure that the mixture becomes very creamy. It will turn about 2 shades lighter.
Once creamed, scrape down the bowl, reduce the speed to low and add in egg yolk just until combined.
With the mixer still on low, add in sifted dry ingredients one heaping tablespoon at a time. By the end the mixture will be very thick.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Use your hands to form it into a flattened rectangle or square shape, and then wrap it tightly in your parchment paper or plastic wrap.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.
Take dough out of the refrigerator, and lay between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat, about 1/4" thick. (This will take some elbow grease.)
Remove the top piece of parchment and use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes you desire. (Large gingerbread men are better for texture!)
Carefully peel away excess dough (you can repeat the rolling out process with this dough, just pop it back in the refrigerator to cool first.)
If your cookies need to be spread out on the baking sheet before baking, I recommend putting the dough in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before using a spatula to move them. This will help retain their shape.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. (If using smaller cookie shapes, I recommend 9 minutes for a chewy consistency.)
Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Okay now on to the big much more important topic… today we say goodbye to Brewing Happiness. After 6 years of running this site, hundreds of recipes, and endless amounts of joy – the time has come for the next phase of life. When I started Brewing Happiness I was still in college, a lost food and weight obsessed young girl, who needed a vehicle to work out my own inner body shaming and food shaming demons. It slowly evolved into a business and felt like the perfect path for me to take after falling out of love with acting. So I ran at it full force, put my all into it and grew it in to the platform it is today. I have loved and been so thankful for every moment along the way.
Why end it, you ask?
The answer is quite layered and many pronged, but I’ll try to simplify it here. Over the last few years I’ve started to do “ghost content” work for other bloggers and brands working behind the scenes to create photos, recipes, videos, etc that live without my name directly tied to it. It’s been creatively exciting for me and reminded me how much I am an artist and not a “personality” or “influencer.”
The older I get the less I feel the need or want to share my life here on the internet. I no longer find joy in social media, and in fact don’t really think it’s all too healthy for humanity (but that’s a conversation for a different time.) 2020 has been an incredibly tough year, but it’s made it crystal clear to me that I don’t need or want to take up space on your phone. And unfortunately that’s a necessity of the job if you want to be a blogger.
I’ve always been a big believer that the path will reveal itself to you and I feel exactly like that’s what has happened. The influencer space feels less and less like home, and the content creator space has opened its arms to me. So I’m going to take that path and leave this space behind.
What does that mean for the recipes?
*Most* of them will remain on this site. I’ll be taking down a the ones that I just don’t believe in or resonate with anymore. So if you have a recipe you love, I’d suggest you print it or save it now. Eventually the site will be redesigned as a portfolio site for our content work, and the recipes will live in a less prominent place.
What about Ryan?
When Ryan joined Brewing Happiness he was looking for a way out of the restaurant game and this offered him a way out. Along the way, we both realized that social media isn’t something we want to be a large part of our lives. Ryan and I will still be working as a team, recipe developing and food styling, just doing it behind the scenes. (You can check out Ryan’s portfolio site here!)
For everyone who has been with me for this journey, all I can say is thank you thank you thank you. Because of you, I’ve been able to create the career I wanted. Because of you I’ve found a job I love. Over the years, you’ve provided me with so much joy, support and love. I’m so honored I could have created recipes you love. I’m so honored you took the time to read the words I’ve typed. I’m so honored to have had this whole experience. Please be kind to yourself. Please treat others as if they were someone you love. Please know that I truly do love you.
Brewing Happiness will become “Brewing Happiness Studio” in the near future and we hope you stick around to hear more about the fun projects we are working on. xo.