Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Make-shift Gingerbread

Yesterday when Sue mentioned she'd made Trader Joe's gingerbread mix(in a box in fact), wheels started turning. Off to TJ's to search and reconnoiter. This morning I took one look and decided I would try making gingerbread cookies out of these puppies. Why not?
It was easy to knead the lumps into a ball and roll out..

Pigs and rabbits here I come!

The dough comes with a packet of crytallized sugar for decor. I added in some cinnamon for extra umph...

The 1st batch came out rather pathetic but tasted fine :)

The 2nd batch was pas mal at all!

Instead of 12 fat chewy cookies I got 3 dozen plus crunchy, hard, quite tasty cookies...

For all of $2.99!

BIG MERCI Trader Joe's!

Granted my little ginger bunnies are a long way from Birdbaths gentlemen...

And I'll never sniff again at Eleni's gorgeous yellow taxis...

Miracle of miracles, baking these cookies did not turn me into a glutton!? Three cookies and I was satisfied. Did the baking aromas do the trick? Do I now dare to make homemake marshmallows?

You tell me? What have you been baking lately?


marilyn said...

thin, crispy, gingerbread cookies - yuuuuuum!!
(who cares what the look like).

Sophia said...

What I’ve been making this week…Merry Gingerbread Christmas!


Gingerbread Caramels

Makes roughly 40 caramels

1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream
4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) white sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) corn syrup
1/4 cup (2 oz) water
2 T molasses

Butter a sheet of foil and press it into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan so the foil hangs over the sides. Butter any exposed sides of the pan. Set this near the stove.

Combine the cream, butter, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm just enough to melt the butter. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Combine the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Set this near the stove as well.

In a 4-quart or larger saucepan, stir the sugar, corn syrup, water and molasses until they come together into a uniform paste. Avoid splashing sugar crystals on the side of the pan; if you do, wipe them away with a pastry brush or cloth dipped in water. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.

Turn the heat to just above medium. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil and cook to 310 F. Whisk the cream mixture slowly into the sugar. The sugar will bubble and triple in bulk before settling again. Stop whisking and cook the caramel to 245 F for softer caramels or 250 F for firmer caramels.

Whisk in the spices and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Do not scrape the bottom of the pan because this sometimes contains crystallized sugar. Allow to cool completely overnight.

To finish: Pull the caramel block from the pan using the foil. Cut the caramel into strips and then into individual squares. If candy is sticky, spray nonstick coating on your knife. Wrap each caramel in wax paper. Caramels keep for a month in an airtight container.

Parisbreakfasts said...

how can you resist eating them all or are you too worn out by that time to bother?
I was...and I did zip basically

Anonymous said...

What have I been baking of late? OY!!! So much but I like doing it. Pumpkin pies, Cranberry Upside Down Cakes, Chocolate Truffle Cookies, Gateau de Metz, Sables Normands, Pistachio-Cranberry Icebox cookies and various fruit clafoutis. I'm exhausted. Happy but exhausted.
PS-Have a great Christmas and New Year.

La Table De Nana said...

Sophia..they sound good:)

I wish we had a Trader Joe's ..or even across the border ..close by:)

Fun post!

Geri, NJ said...

Love the pigs and rabbits! Yes...make those homemade m'mallows! I'm tempted to follow your links and try. Baking Cinnamon Madeleines here, and a gingerbread bundt cake in my rather ordinary pan...wish I had the cathedral version! Happy Holidays Carol, and thanks for your posts; as always, an artistic, fun and lovely potpourri.

Parisbreakfasts said...

Cranberry Upside Down Cakes
mon dieu!!!

Sophia said...

The caramels were so easy to make, you wouldn’t believe it.
And you have to leave them overnight before you cut and wrap them, so I did all my eating the next day…
and there were a lot of scraps-LOL!!!

Karen in VA (was CT) said...

wow ... el speedo .. of to TJ's ... I love Gingerbread cookies but from scratch I discovered are a little tricky .... thanks for the post and a great year of Paris Breakfasts ... my FAVE of whole year was Helen Miren at Louis ... xo

Catherine said...

I heart Trader Joe's! A budget-minded foodie's dream. :-)

After your eclair post I got some of their eclairs from the frozen section. Not as good from the pastry shop, but quite tasty!

Happy holidays!

Amy said...

You're so thrifty and such a savvy baker! I love your ginger bunnies. (I agree - crunchy ginger cookies are better than chewy ones.)

Tonight I'm going to start in on making Dad's favorite chocolate chip cookies (a.k.a. the Lard Biscuits). Wish me luck - and I'll share the recipe if anyone's interested...

Linda Warner Constantino said...

I have been making Meyer Lemon limoncello and almond biscotti. I grow Meyer Lemons in my front yard. They were as big as oranges this year and there were a lot.

Yvette said...

Not lately, but I used to once upon a time. Does that count? I remember baking a Swedish braided bread with dribbled icing. Delish.

I also used to make cookies and a Cardamom Bundt Cake which was heavenly.

Ah, memories....!

At any rate, I'll be eating my fair share of cookies and cakes at my daughter's this Christmas - the second with my granddaughter. :)

Merry Christmas Carol, to you and your family. Good wishes for the New Year as well.

Bill said...

This made me smile! I love your painting of the puppy and macarons! :^)

somepinkflowers said...

for smart you!

i am going to look
for such things...

{{ it is All About
the fragrance,
isn't it! }}

patting puppy's head

so cute!

Wabbit said...

Thank you for the yummy leads! I just received an early Christmas/birthday present last night of the KitchenAid Artisan mixer of my dreams (the Empire Red one with the glass bowl)! Now I've got inspiration for using it thanks to PB. ;-))

Merry Christmas, Carol!

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Carol, we are going to TJ/s tomorrow. Now the hot chocolate is on my list, the cookie mix and they have King Arthur flour and I'm going to make my mother's butterballs. with pecans.
However; that ginger caramel looks so amazing and would make such lovely gifts. What great readers you have!

A Brush with Color said...

Too funny, Carol--they sound good!

Here's the gingersnap cookies I make every year--SO easy and just delicious. You should make these:


1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
3/4 cups butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Combine all the dry ingredients first and make sure they're blended. Then, cut
in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Stir in the molasses and egg. Once
it's all mixed together, shape the dough into quarter-sized balls, on a cookie
sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on racks and eat.

Joyfulartist said...

We are finally getting a TJ in SW FL! It should be open soon but I don't think it will be in time for Christmas. I made the traditional cookie from my husband's mother. It's unique, no one else has ever heard of or seen it and they are delish. They are called Fruit Sticks. I bake them and send them to my adult children who need a little taste of their childhood this time of year.

A Brush with Color said...

love your watercolor, Carol!!

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

Seriously, RABBITS???

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

The only rabbits I intend to bake are furry.

Merisi said...

Carol, the Queen of Lean Cookies! :)=

Yes, please, make marshmallows. I suggest Martha Stewart's recipe, it should still be online. I'd bow so deep my nose would get dusty.

Jerri-Ann said...

I'm making Hazel Nut Goat Milk fudge, & Caramel Pecan Goat Milk fuge. My daughter is doing the baking this year & said it is a surprise. I did make what I call Jewel Yule Logs for my friends this year. It is so simple, my take on the no bake fruit cake cookies.
I used 1 lb organic vanilla wafer, 8 oz each dried cherries,apricots,figs,dates,blue berries, pineapple, candied lemon peel, 1 pkg minature marshmallows, 1/2 C unsalted butter, 2 Tblsp brown sugar 1Tblsp vanilla, & 2 C chopped pecans.
First start water boiling in double boiler, then process wafers to fine crumbs, chop figs & dates, nuts separately then mix together in very large bowl & set aside.Place butter, chopped dates , marshmallows, chopped dates, & brown sugar in top of double boiler stir until all the marshmallows are melted & blended well. add vanilla & if you like some bourbon too. I do.Pour over dry ingredients, mix well. Form into individual logs ( makes 1 doz approx 8" ) . Wrap individually in waxed paper or plastic
wrap, keep in air tight container in fridge. Slice very thin to serve. I like them with moscato.

Jerri-Ann said...

Yikes, meant 1 Cup unsalted butter! If mixture is too dry or crumbly, you can add a little more melted butter.

William Ternay said...

Jeanette; I love your sense of humor.
Furry rabbits indeed.
Tomorrow I'm breaking out my wife's tin cookie shapes and making some very funky PANCAKES! Now if only I could find some furry syrup.

Sweet Freak said...

You are too cute.
I haven't been baking lately (as in, about 8 months) but today alone, I had a package of goat milk salted caramels, dried pineapple and Vosges red hot dark chocolate. I can hardly wait to see what sweets are in store for tomorrow...

Unknown said...

oh please make the marshmallows! i want to read all about it. I love this about the baking. I am doing nothing, ugh. BUT now i may just stop in at Trader Joe's $2.99 is a steal. Thank you for enlightening me ;)

Nikon said...

The cookies look great, Carol.
Trader Joe's price sure is right.

Parisbreakfasts said...

We Three:
making marshmallows entail using a COOKING THERMOMETER!
do I dare?
a seriously frightened Carolg
giving it some serious thought..

dkshopgirl said...

i'll keep it short ... yummmmmm x Merry Christmas :-)