Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gingerbread Modeling Dough for Random Recipe Challenge

I love Dom's Random Recipe Challenge. It truly forces me to be brave and creative. This time, the challenge was to pick a random recipe from your very first cookbook. Well, I am so lucky to have a wonderful mother who bought me a fabulous cookbook for my first forays into independent cooking. Without further ado, I present Loaves and Fishes: A Love Your Neighbor Cookbook.

That this was my first cookbook is in complete keeping with my parents who, despite their conservative outside appearance, are truly hippies on the inside. The authors of this cookbook for children were hoping to educate young people about the realities of world hunger and the need for sustainable agriculture. In the educational preface, some facts are given concerning American over-consumption and world hunger. THe authors also state three goals for young people (rephrased for space).

1. Become educated about world hunger.
2. Become advocates for healthy eating in schools.
3. Make healthy, careful food choices at home.

The book has great pictures and a cute little, hand-drawn ladybug who follows you throughout the book.

I made a big deal of opening the book after dinner one night to choose my random recipe. When the pages fell open to an old favorite, "Gingerbread Modeling Dough", I was simultaneously excited and terrified.  I will tell you more about that later.

First, the recipe. It is a fun recipe that encourages kids to work with their hands and to craft their own, original gingerbread men. I thought it was great fun to make all kinds of gingerbread shapes when I was younger. The texture of the cookie is very chewy, almost doughy. The flavor starts with the spicy ginger and then begins to hint at the sweet molasses until you are engulfed in the very taste of Christmas.

Gingerbread Modeling Dough
1/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water

1. In a large bowl mix well the margarine and sugar.
2. Beat in the molasses.
3. Add the flour, soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
4. Add the water and mix well, using your hands to mix the flour in when the dough becomes stiff.
5. Now the dough is ready to model into gingerbread boys or girls or anything you wish.
6. Place modeled dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake the dough at 350F for 8-10 minutes or longer depending on its thickness.
7. Yields 20, 2 point servings (#7 is not from the cookbook.)

Here is the gingerbread boy I made for Simon (with raisin face and bellybutton,  and sesame seed hair).

Now, obviously I was excited to make this recipe because it is one that is familiar - one that I even love. But terrified? Well, that is another story. I try to keep my blog a happy place, but part of this bit is sad. Trust me, however, that the end is - I think - affirming.

In another life (aka for almost ten years, until three years ago) I was married to another man. Let us call him The Dark. During the first year of our marriage, I made these cookies to share with him. I wanted to share part of my childhood with him - part of myself. He hated them. He not only hated them, but he said degrading things about them. Things I won't put on a blog.

These are not, perhaps, the world's best cookie, but they don't deserve to be defamed. The Dark was defaming them because insulting what someone loves is a way of undermining their self esteem and keeping them in your control. The cookies were something sort of small, but there were bigger things as well. There was Africa. We went there, for him to see my roots, and he hated it. He hated all of it, every place and sight and sound and taste that was the fabric of my heart. He told me that we would never, ever go back.

Fast forward to now. I have a new life, and now a new husband. He wants to go to Africa. I won't take him. I will not take him because I can't risk him hating it. He keeps telling me that he is not The Dark. I know that. But, still...

I set this glass of milk and these star shaped gingerbread modeling dough cookies in front of my husband, who had no idea the emotion behind them. He took a bite. He smiled. He mmmmmed. "Oh. Oh, wow. These are spectacular. I mean, these are amazing. They are so moist! They are so chewy! Can I really only have three?"

He loved them. And, he didn't just love them because they were good. He loved them because I made them. He loved them because he loves me.

So, maybe someday I will take him to Africa. But not yet....


  1. Defaming cookies? Inconceivable! Now fruit cake, I can understand! Ha! I'm glad your hubby now enjoys them. Kudos!

  2. Your husband sounds so sweet. I think you're both lucky! These cookies look really good. Love the book.

  3. That's so sweet, I never thought of a child cookbook, which does make perfect sense :). When I think of my very first cookbook, it would probably be my cookbook when I started to learn of desserts from 3 years ago. These are some cute cookies! Lovely!

  4. Oh wow, a small cookie with so much meanings and memories. I'm glad you've broken free from that man who hates your roots, and have a man who is interested in them. I hope one day you do take him back to Africa. I think every part of you deserves to be loved!

  5. It's cute! Loved reading the post!

  6. What a sweet hubby! Love the story about the cookies but hated "the dark"! Glad you got away from that. Sounds like you now have a great man who treats you right!!

  7. Oh Angela this is the most wonderful moving story and I feel humbled that you'd share it with us. Some people have dark souls and feed on the insecurities of others who live them. He sounds like a very unhappy man and you are fortunate to gave recognised this and moved on. Be brave with your new choices and go back to Africa ONLY for you, not anyone else. Your little gingerbread men are a symbol of this message of understanding and tolerance and who couldn't love the little fellas eh? Thanks so much for taking part in the challenge. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for a few people!! Who knew? Xxx

  8. Hi Angela, Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I've only just started the Blog you visited and was so surprised to get a comment ! My Normal Blog is www.prepped.co.uk .. which is about how I took a year off to write a cookery book .. it's almost up in the 6th of may !

  9. Your parents sound awesome! That was such a considerate and worthwhile gift to you. And we will all benefit!

  10. I love this recipe! I really want to try it.

    So sorry to hear that your past is haunting you. I hope that with time you will be able to return to Africa, and that your current hubby will adore it.

  11. Great emotional post. Love the book and love the fact that you got right in it and tried that recipe; good for you!

  12. Beautiful post. I'm glad you left the Dark and now have a great ray of Light in your life! Those cookies are adorable!

  13. This aunt that has been to Africa says....take him when it is time....he will LOVE it just as I did because I saw with my own eyes.

  14. I had a similar experience with you and life gave me a second chance as well. Don't be afraid to share things with your new husband, it will never be as before. Trust me, God gave you another chance, grab it and don't look back! Just live and enjoy this new life along with these beautiful cookies you made!

  15. Books sounds really good, as it describes about healthy eating, Past is past don't worry about anything. enjoy the present. this ginger bread cookies looks really nice.

  16. lovely cookies and book may God richly continue to bless this marriage with happiness u deserve sweet Angela

  17. looks like a lot of fun and tasty

  18. Looks like you have a keeper (the hubby and the cookies)!

  19. You are all wonderful, and I am at a loss for words to thank you for being so sweet and supportive. Thank you very, very much.

  20. Beautiful cookies and beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
    I am your newest follower. I hope you will stop by my blog and follow me back.

  21. OH, how sweet and sad at the same time! You seem so young to me - I am surprised to hear you were married for that long before. But I am so happy you have someone who loves you this way now! You deserve it and nothing less. Thank you for sharing. And I KNOW your husband would love Africa! xoxo

  22. Oh, that was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. But do take your husband to Africa - if he loves you he will try to get something out of it and it will be a completely different experience for you. Love your cookies and the 'save the world' messages that came with the book.


Thanks for your comments!