Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“Gingerbread Men Cookies” For Christmas & “Coconut Macaroons” For Chanukah


“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child Himself.” by Charles Dickens 

My mom and myself
At this time of the year, the aromas that float throughout the house are so delightful. Especially when the kitchen is filled with cookies and baked goodies. It is a whimsical scent that reminds me of my childhood. As I reminisce back to when I was a young girl, I can remember my mom’s kitchen all prepared and ready to bake. I think of the sweet molasses, cinnamon, and all the ingredients we would need to bake, our cookies and cakes. My mom had an aluminum pan that was in the shape of a gingerbread man, and we would bake a gingerbread cake in it every year. Then after the cake was cooled she would take out the tubes of icing and we would begin to decorate the gingerbread man. I remember putting the eyes and mouth on with white icing and making a bow tie with the red icing. We always used raisins for the buttons and made sure that we made cuffs for the shoes and hands. Then as I grew up we would make gingerbread men with cookie cutters. We still used the icing in the tubes and would proceed to decorate them as well. I still can see the cheerful faces on the gingerbread cookies that we made in years past as well as my mom‘s face when she would watch me put the smile on the my gingerbread cookie.
Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and biscuit making was practiced in the 16th centuries. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had gingerbread figures made and presented them in the likeness of some of her important guests. Recently in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, they had a potential record-setting gingerbread man put on display. It was unveiled the world’s largest gingerbread man. It stood 26 feet and 2 inches tall, although its weight is unknown. 

My recipe is “Gingerbread Men Cookies,” if you didn’t guess already. I have been making this recipe for many years and it was found on the Domino Sugar box. So, I hope that you can create your own memories in making these wonderful, fragrant, and fun Gingerbread Men cookies. 

Gingerbread Men Cookies

3/4 cup firmly packed Light or Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup un-salted butter, softened
1/4 cup-molasses
3 1/4 cups-all purpose flour
2 teaspoons-ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons-baking soda
1/2 teaspoon-each; allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt
Sugar icing (Recipe Below) 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease cookie sheets. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and molasses. Stir together remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Gradually add to sugar mixture until well blended. Refrigerate dough 1 hour or until easy to handle. On well-floured surface, roll out half of dough at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on rack. Decorate with sugar icing as desired.

Yield: about 24 (5 inch) cookies.

Sugar Icing:
Combine 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and food coloring if desired.

Quick Tip:
To make Cookie Ornaments, bake cookies as directed. Just after the cookies are baked, use a small straw to create a hole at the top of the cookie. Leave 1/2 inch space from the top of the cookie. It is important to cut out holes while the cookies are still warm. Decorate as desired. Once dry, thread a thin ribbon through the hole to hang as an ornament.


I would like to wish a “Happy Chanukah” to all of my Jewish readers and friends. Tomorrow is the first day of Chanukah. During this Jewish holiday many families invite friends and relatives over to light the Menorah, sing songs, play games with a Dreidel (like a top), exchange gifts, and share traditional food. 

“Chanukah” or the “Festival of Lights” is celebrated for eight days around the end of December. The name came from a Hebrew word which means “to dedicate.” During Chanukah, the Jewish people honor the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the “Miracle of The Oil.” The Talmud, which is a book of the Jewish faith, says that after the Temple had been won over, only a day’s worth of consecrated olive oil was left to fuel the eternal flame. Miraculously, it remained burning for eight days, which was just enough time to make more of the oil.

Because of the role that the oil played in the Chanukah miracle, it is customary to serve foods fried in oil. Some traditional Chanukah foods are Latkes, fried potato pancakes, and different varieties of deep-fried donuts. It is also customary to eat dairy foods on Chanukah, in commemoration of the bravery of Yehudit, who used cheese to defeat the Greek general Holofernes.

To share in this tradition, I have a recipe called “Coconut Macaroons.” A macaroon is a type of light, baked confection, described as either small cakes or meringue-like cookies depending on their consistency.  The original macaroon was a sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds similar to the Italian Amaretti cookie. These cookies are scrumptious!

“Coconut Macaroons”

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Chocolate to drizzle on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4 inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve. If you choose you can also drizzle some chocolate over the top of the Macaroons. (Optional)  Yield: 20-22 cookies.

Recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

****FYI: This post is part of Patience Brewster’s online holiday cookie exchange. She is an artist of handmade gifts and holiday ornaments! Please check out her site and share your cookie recipes with us.

Till Next Time……..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh so gingerbread men have been around for a long time then! I didn't grow up with this type of biscuit. For us in Italy ginger and spiced biscuits it was what we thought it was typical of Germany and Northern countries. These days you will find anything on the market.
    I had them for the first time in Germany and I have been in love with this type of biscuit ever since. I love cinnamon too! Yours here look perfectly made, I can see you have been making them for a long time. How lucky to grow up with a mum that cooked all the time. I have memories of mine cooking a lot too. Maybe that's why we love baking and cooking so much?!
    I love your coconut cookies too. They do look moreish indeed! xx

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for visiting dear friend. I love it when you comment Alida, you always tell me about your culture in Italy. I love to learn about the other traditions that the Italian people have in Italy. I am surprised that you didn't use ginger for your biscuits? I am so glad that you had them in Germany, they are hard not to love. Yes, I have been making these cookies for many years and also Gingerbread Houses. (which I LOVE to make) To me it wouldn't be Christmas without these little Gingerbread Men Cookies. I love to use them for ornaments as well on the tree, makes the tree smell really good. We are both very lucky and blessed to have a mum that took time to share the cooking and baking experience with us.I agree that is why we love it so much. Yes, the Coconut cookies are good as well, sweet especially if you drizzled them with chocolate. Thanks again, I hope that you enjoy the rest of the week. Dottie :)

  2. Good morning Dottie ,
    What an interesting post and as usual so full of information .
    The kids and I make Gingerbread men each year and I think it's wonderful to introduce your kids to cooking (boys included) . We also make gingerbread bunnies for Easter and decorate them with different icing .
    Your recipe is a winner , my sister got hers off the Domino sugar box so many years ago and all the family use it .
    We love Coconut Macaroons I will try your recipe , it's a little different from mine . Have you ever tried nuts in them ?
    Thanks so much for sharing and have a great week . ;-D ~~Nee~~

    1. Good afternoon Nee,
      Thank you for stopping by and your comment. So glad that you enjoyed my post and recipes. I do think it is so important to include the boys in baking and cooking. My son as well as my nephews used to love to bake with me when they were young. I know that you do Nee with your children. I love the idea about the bunnies for Easter. I think I will try that this coming year. You don't have to wait till Christmas to make Gingerbread cookies. Yes, your sister I am sure have made them before. Love this recipe, and It has been around a long time. My mom loves Coconut Macaroons and they are addictive.No, I have never put nuts in the recipe, but that may be a wonderful addition. Have to try that. Again thanks dear friend, hope you enjoy your week.
      Dottie :)

  3. Dear Dottie, The holidays have arrived so quickly!! Gingerbread cookies are on the list to make though we did not get to them yet.
    I really don't know how time seems to move so quickly.
    These are such nice memories. I would love to bake with my mother too. She seemed to get everything done and so timely too. I wish I could too.
    I think these cookies look so festive and cheerful and they taste good too.
    xo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thanks for stopping over. You are correct, everything is too fast. Thanksgiving was a blur and now Christmas is about one week away. Last I knew it was still August. The days go into weeks and then the weeks go into months, but we have to be grateful for all that we have and that the weather has cooperated. I am so glad that you also are making Gingerbread cookies. To me you can't have Christmas till there is Gingerbread in the house. I agree the memories I have with my mom is priceless, and you are correct, she always had everything done and she worked as a teacher. I was just talking about that with a friend the other night. But anyhow we have to make our own traditions and in our own time. Glad that you loved the cookies. Thanks for your comment, and have a blessed rest of the week.
      Dottie :)

  4. Macaroons from recipes like that have always been traditional for Passover, but I guess there's no reason why you couldn't have them for Chanukah. Novel idea.

    1. Hi Mae, thank you for your visit. Glad that you liked this post and the recipe. I am not Jewish, but my friend is and she told me that dairy foods are also eaten besides fried food. So I thought that the Coconut Macaroons would be a wonderful treat as you use eggs and condensed milk. I am sure that they can be used for the two holidays, who doesn't love coconut with chocolate if you choose. Thanks for your comment...Enjoy your holidays...Dottie :)

  5. Gingerbread men were one of my childhood favorites! The other was a coconut macaroon -- my mom's recipe was almost identical to yours! At Christmas time it's always fun adding red and green dye to color them. Thanks for this, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

    1. Hi John,
      Thank you for your visit. I am thrilled that I could bring back some memories of your childhood to you. To me it isn't Christmas till there are Gingerbread Men in the house. Love them! It is always fun to have many colors to decorate the cookies. Thank you for your comment and your wishes for a wonderful holiday season, the same to you John. .
      Dottie :)

  6. Hi Dottie,
    Gingerbread men and Macaroons what else could a girl ask for, lol...Funny thing is, we never made Bingerbread Men in our house when I was growing up. I'm not quite sure as to why. We had loads of Italian cookies and pastries but never Gingerbread Men.

    My kids and I had the honor of attending a Chanukak celebration a long time ago and I distinctly remember Macaroons being at the table. It was the first time I ever had them:)

    You have posted another lovely post, Dottie. Thank you so much for sharing...

    1. Hi Louise, Thanks for your visit. You said Louise, what could a girl ask for besides more of them...That is a shame that you never made these little guys. We also had a lot of the traditional Italian cookies and pastries too. But we always made the Gingerbread cake or cookies. We all love the flavor and the taste of the Ginger. Love Macaroons and that must have been interesting to be at a Chanukah celebration. Thank you for your wonderful comment. Hope that you enjoy the coming weekend and especially your holidays. Dottie :)