Hometown Cooking with Tamara Hughes

Hometown Cooking
Hello, I’m Tamara Hughes, author of Once Upon a Masquerade, a historical romance set in New York City in 1883, and I hope you’re having a fabulous December.

For the longest time, I’ve searched for the perfect gingerbread cookie, one with the delicious gingerbread flavor but soft instead of firm. I finally ran across the Gingerbread Teddy Bear recipe in a Taste of Home magazine (thank you Elizabeth Manzanares from Gloucester, Virginia). Wow! So good! These cookies are now an annual tradition. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

1 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Miniature chocolate chips
Red decorating frosting

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and molasses. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a large mixing bowl; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in egg and vanilla.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and cloves; gradually add to the butter mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Shape dough into balls. (I like to make smaller bears than the original recipe.) You’ll need a bigger one for the body (maybe 1-1/4 inch), slightly smaller one for the head (1 inch), and four balls for the arms and legs (1/2 inch). Finally, you need two really small balls for the ears (1/4 inch).

Place the balls for the bodies on baking sheets, add head, arms, legs, and ears. Flatten the whole cookie to 1/4 inch thickness. Add the chocolate chips for eyes, noses, and buttons.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until set. Cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks (or cut up paper grocery bags) to cool completely. With frosting, pipe bows on bears.
Makes 1-1/2 to 2 dozen cookies.




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