Gingerbread men. Their spice scents the air and lingers on the tongue. Many reserve gingerbread cookies for Christmas, but why not give them a Gothic twist?
Fred sells cookie stamps called “Ginger Dead Man” which leave an imprint of a skeleton into which white icing can be piped for a skeletal effect. Williams Sonoma sells skull cookie cutters crying for sugar skull status. Foodiggity offers a macabre little cutter called “conjoined.” Two heads for the horror of all.
Andrea from Cupookie in Los Angeles, California posted amazing Dia de los Muertos cookies with beautiful, devious designs. (www.cupookie.blogspot.com) She takes the ordinary form and transforms it into the extraordinary.
Zombies and monsters may lurk within the traditional framework. With swipes of white chocolate, a gingerbread man can become an avenging Mummy. Drip red from broken bits to denote victims. With a little poke and a pin or two, the cookies become weapons in the hands of a voodoo practitioner. Simple circles can become Tim Burton’s Jack Skellington.
To begin, bake traditional gingerbread men and ladies, or buy unadorned cookies to decorate.
A simple gingerbread cookie recipe:
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Directions: Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar in large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add flour mixture on low speed until well mixed.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into shapes. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.
Then comes the fun. Let your imagination run wild.