The campus has been decorated with (some) care, Christmas music fills the apartments and residence halls, teachers are constantly dropping the f-word (“finals,” of course), and there are about a dozen cookie-decorating events announced per week. It must be the holidays.

Decorating cookies can be a great way to relieve stress. But let’s be honest. Finals have the tendency to make the average college student crave sweets and the cookies at many of those cookie-decorating events are severely lacking in scrumptious cookie taste. Instead, procrastinate a little longer — make your own cookies. Not only will they be guaranteed to taste (and cause your apartment to smell) wonderful, but they also make great gifts for the Secret Santas that were announced post-Black Friday. You can also decorate them whenever you want, including after having the annual 3 a.m. break down over all the essays, projects and exams you’ve just been informed of.

Gingerbread cookies are undoubtedly the cookie of the season, even if nearly everyone prefers chocolate chip. Something about the spices in Gingerbread just makes them smell and feel like Christmas. This recipe took me many Christmas seasons to perfect, and it can be easily adjusted for those grinches who like their gingerbread overly crisp. All they have to do is cook the gingerbread more toward the 10-minute side of the spectrum but, be warned, Gingerbread cookies, like all cookies, continue to cook when they are removed from the oven. Never leave your gingerbread cookies in the oven until they have the consistency you prefer to eat them at — it will just result in dry, brittle gingerbread that are too hard to make pretty regardless of how much icing you use.

Happy Holidays and good luck baking!

Gingerbread Cookies

Set Oven to: 375 degrees


        6 cups all purpose flour 1 tbsp of baking powder

        1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda ½ teaspoon of salt

        2 tbsps of ground ginger 3 1/2 tsps of ground cinnamon

        1 tsps of ground clover ¾ cup of unsalted butter

        1 ½ cup of brown sugar 2 eggs

        1 cup of molasses 4 tsps of vanilla

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a small bowl.
  2. Beat: butter, brown sugar, egg, molasses and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  3. Combine. (Tip 1: It will take longer, but will save you A LOT of time and effort later: combine the dry mixture in SLOWLY — as in 1/10 of the mixture at a time — and thoroughly combine each time. Tip 2: Once the dough starts getting hard, use your hands to knead it. Much faster.)
  4. Divide the dough into two equal rolls and wrap in plastic. Let stand for two to eight hours at room temperature.
  5. Roll out so the dough is ¼ inch thick (Tip: If you use a ceramic/plastic/ metal roller instead of wood you don’t need to use flour on it or whatever surface you are rolling it out on — this will make your cookies less dry.) Cut into shapes if desired.
  6. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet one inch apart (they expand). Cook 7-10 minutes (cookies should look dry, but be soft to the touch when lightly pressed in the middle).
  7. Remove, let sit for at least five minutes and enjoy!

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