Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday S'mores and best ginger cookie recipe ever!

Twas two weeks til Christmas and all through the house, Christmas carnage reigned as decorations were unpacked.

My angel is totally appalled at the sight of Clyde the bison's head and my MIL's angel's head breaking off.

There was a fight in the kitchen between Martha Stewart and Julia Child, each trying to outdo the other. Baking and candy making stuff on the counters. Christmas tinsel and glass balls and glue guns on the table. Needless to say, it got pretty heated as evidenced below:

Martha threw a gold ball ornament in Julia's white chocolate. Julia threw white chocolate back. Chaos!

And then I was wrapping presents and discovered I had one less present for one of the grandchildren. Well, that just wouldn't do. So back into the shopping fray I had to go. 
Question of the Moment: Does anyone else think on-line shopping is a blessing when you really don't want to fight the traffic at the mall? 
Just as I had recovered, my birthday appeared. Gotta stop and celebrate the day you're born. I love my friends who don't give me combined Christmas and birthday presents but separate the day. My friend Renee sent me a lovely floral birthday cake I wasn't allergic to!

AND it was baking my ginger cookie tradition time. I love baking these around my birthday because these cookies are SO special, I don't even miss birthday cake. But I got it in my head, after mulling my vegan marshmallow post, that I needed to fancy them up by making s'mores. Pinterest was a big help. Yes, entire boards are dedicated to the treat.

Hmmmmm. What to do? I didn't like my daughter's suggestion of Nutella, even though I am a Nutella fan. I don't like chocolate in my pumpkin pie, pecan pie or gingerbread. I made my cookies (see recipe below), topping one with my daughter's homemade apple butter and melted caramels and the other with melted white chocolate with a sprinkle of dried cranberries and pistachios. Top both with broiled marshmallows and another cookie. And it is a dessert worthy of special occasion like birthdays and daughter's boyfriend coming for dinner. 

The granddaughter told me these are "tasty." Where does a three year old learn the word "tasty"?
Gluten-free Ginger Cookies

Note: I've adapted this recipe over time, basically using what I have on hand. The texture is more crisp and melt-in-your mouth than it is bready like some gingerbread recipes. Store the cookies in the refrigerator until ready to assemble in order to make them easier to handle. Also store in the fridge until ready to eat.

2 and 1/4 cups Pamela's or other gluten free baking mix.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (you may wish to add less. Cloves are pretty powerful.)

3/4  cup brown or turbanido sugar, plus extra to roll cookies in
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses    

1) Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl except sugar.

2) Mix softened butter and sugar in separate bowl.

3) Add egg and molasses to butter/sugar mixture and blend well.

4) Slowly fold in the dry ingredients and then use the hand mixer only to make sure things are thoroughly blended. This batter is not as stiff so a hand mixer should be able to handle it.  Make sure you blend thoroughly.

5) Refrigerate for at least one hour but no more than two hours in covered bowl. 

6) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375.

7) Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

8) Using a small cookie scoop, scoop up dough and roll each scoop into a ball.  Put remaining dough back in refrigerator until ready to use.

9) Roll each ball in a bowl of sugar.  Place on parchment covered cookie sheet.

10) Smoosh each ball gently with the bottom of a glass to make a circle. Just press enough to flatten.

11) Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Make sure you watch the first time to gauge the temp of your oven.

12) Remove from oven and let and sit for two to five minutes, then slide entire parchment sheet over cooling rack and let cool until firm. Do not try to lift with spatula.

13) When cookies are totally cooled, place in airtight container, layer cookies with wax paper. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

S'more Creation: Let your own imagination go wild but here is what I did. You may also want to use whipped cream cheese for a less sweet taste as in the third recipe below.

White Chocolate Christmas version: Melt white chocolate chips in double boiler to keep things melted and workable. Spread a spoonful of white chocolate on cold cookie, sprinkle with dried cranberries and pistachios. Top with a melted marshmallow or marshmallow fluff and then with another cookie.

Apple Butter Caramel:  Melt caramels in microwave at 50% power until melted. Spread a spoonful on a cold cookie. Top with a spoonful of apple butter. Add marshmallow and top with a cookie.

Candied ginger Cream Cheese: Spread whipped cream cheese on cookie and sprinkle with chopped candied ginger. Add marshmallow and another cookie!

Note: You can also make the smores the day before and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Let sit out for at least 15 minutes. I serve mine in halves and quarters so everyone can try the different flavors.

So, do you have a favorite holiday cookie you could use as the cookie base of a s'more or ice cream sandwich?


  1. Are there other cookies beside a ginger one? You know I'm a fool for a ginger cookie (witness my assistance to the Texan a few weeks ago)! I've never thought of trying s'mores, but the chain called The Corner Bakery sandwiches a lemon creme filling between their ginger cookies--which have bits of real ginger in ithem. Yummo! I suspect it is a holiday offering only, so when I go up to chapter meeting today, I'm going to stock the freezer!

    1. Oh, I can do lemon cream filling easily. A little lemon juice and confectioners sugar in the cream cheese with the candied ginger. Hope you are able to stock up!

    2. See? Such the domestic goddesss! They had five and I bought what they had!

  2. Oh, love the pictures!!!

    (Tell Julia and Martha to get a grip! It's Christmas!)

    This is like a vintage I Spy Christmas book. I spy a bottle brush tree, a black and white photograph, a glass ornament, a singing horrified angel, another bottle brush tree display...

    And that cake is AWESOME.

    1. The flea was like that today! I spied (and bought) a lot of goodies!

  3. Cookies reign at Christmas time, don't they?

    My daughter has a three day weekend, so what are we going to do? You guessed it!

    We don't have a favorite cookie, so we're baking them all...and yes, giving many of them away. Everyone wants to take some to work to share, so we'll be baking dozens and dozens!

    I think we'll be in a sugar coma by the end of Monday :)

    1. I love how Christmas season is cookie season and generosity reigns!

  4. Oh yum, I love ginger cookies and I've never made them. I might just try these. Don't you just love the chaos of Christmas? (in measured does, of course).

    1. Yes, you should. I wondered if I would miss real gingerbread but not with these babies.

      And yes I do. It is the best sort of chaos.

  5. The words ginger and cream cheese are music to my ears!!!

    I love it. Thank you!!!

  6. I love homemade ginger snaps/cookies! These sound amazing. I'm all over that caramel version! :)

    1. Even if it was just caramel with no marshmallow and no apple butter it would be lovely. There is a reason I only make these ginger cookies during the Christmas season. Everything in moderation and these are hard to resist.

  7. LOl Virginia! I live I Spy, and that really does fit!

    Julie your cake is gorgeous. Happy birthday!

    1. lOve I Spy. Not live it. :) I can't ever type love on my phone or iPad.

    2. Thanks about the birthday. It was been stretched out into a birthday week.

      And yes, I spy it is. I have started looking at some of folks cover photos that way!

  8. Yum! And what a gorgeous birthday cake. We're celebrating birthday season here too. Number two daughter's day was the tenth and her daughter's day is today (the fifteenth)! My closet is overflowing with gifts, Christmas and birthday. Must do some wrapping.

    And yes, online shopping is absolutely the best thing ever. I love it when my kids share their Amazon wish lists, too. Makes life so much easier. But with free shipping, why would one want to battle the crowds at the store?

    Looking forward to things calming down this week. At least for a couple days. We had something every day/night this last week, culminating with a party we hosted last night. Today it's a birthday party and tomorrow we have an open house at my Mom's assisted living and a Boy Scout court of honor. After that, I think we're finally free until the grands roll in Saturday. But it's all good and, for the most part, fun. :)

  9. Yes indeed. What a busy season you have. Hope the DD and the GD appreciate their December birthdays.

  10. online shopping online shopping online shopping!! I'd do everything online if I could!
    ginger doesnt' make my list - not even tea LOL - I keep buying it thinking some combination will snap with me but it just never has...I think gingerbread houses should be chocolate houses - maybe chocolate graham crackers... :-) 2 dips I bought and and made for the 2 quilt thingies weren't a big hit- though honestly I don't think it's becaue they sucked so much as because there weren't very many of us there and there was other stuff and they weren't easy to eat in a small space by the sewing machine..heck even I chose other stuff like cheese and crackers and chocolate pie...the most eaten thing I took was the cranberry bread - good stuff there! moh and the corn dip didn't fly (other than the other reasons) because out of maybe 12 of us 3 were allergic to either the sour cream(dairy) or mayonnaise (eggs) I need to make less next time LOL!