Monday, December 20, 2010

Tacky Sweaters and Gingerbread Men

 Mountain Man and I recently hosted a Tacky Christmas Sweater party.

We wanted to look as tacky goofy as possible.. what do you think?

Flash-back or Flash-forward? 

In case you were wondering, yes, those are dark green valor track pants and no, MM will not be rocking that 'stache for very long. And don't worry, when I got warm that top sweater is removable and I could sport the matching sleeveless sweater.

With a house full of very tackily dressed friends, we feasted on a good spread of food, partook in a few adult bevs, played some games of catch phrase and laughed the night away.

But the best part of the night? Having everyone decorate their own Gingerbread Men

When I first thought of the idea I was tickled...right next to the dips and apps there was to be a Gingerbread Man station complete with icing bags and candy accents.

I was a little worried that our friends wouldn't find it as amusing as I did.  I totally understand that some people don't find baking and decorating as much fun as I do (crazy people),  but I was pleasantly surprised at how much they got into it...

Not to mention the quality of the cookies they decorated! I was so impressed..

I even got to try out another recipe from my newly received Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook. These gingerbread cookies had just the right amount of spice and the texture was amazing.

Gingerbread Men
Recipe from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook (Ginger Hearts)
Oven: 350 Bake time: 10 minutes 
Makes a lot of cookies

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1 TBS cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 egg
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup dark molasses, unsulphured
1/2 cup salted butter, softened (I just add a little extra salt and used unsalted)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
In another large bowl, cream egg and sugar. Then add molasses and butter- beat until mixed well.
Add flour mixture (dry ingredients) to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. *You might need to add a little more flour if the dough is still very sticky.
Roll dough into large ball, cover in saran wrap and chill for about a 30 minutes to an hour.
Once chilled, cut ball in half, keeping one half in the fridge while you work with the other half.
Transfer gingerbread to lightly floured surface and roll rough till about 1/4 inch thick.
Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes and transfer cut cookies to prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Repeat with reserved dough in the fridge.
Bake cookies for about 10 minutes or until they're slightly firm to the touch.
Don't let the edges brown or they'll be too hard!
Remove cookies and allow to cool on wire rack.
Once cooled, decorate with royal icing, candies and sprinkles.

I reserved a few cookies and decorated them myself, but I felt no need to share those because the ones our friends decorated are way better anyways :)

 It's almost Christmas!!
Happy Baking!