Every Christmas season, Jen and I get together in the kitchen for our annual baking of gingerbread men. That’s exactly what we did last night, but this year, our bonding moment didn’t turn out so well.
All I can say is, I am so glad I did not end up taking this year’s gingerbread men to her school, as we planned to do, because this year’s batch just tasted awful.
But the thing I don’t get is, what had happened? Where did we go wrong?
See, we normally use a boxed mix to make our gingerbread men. This year, however, I came across a recipe and thought, why don’t we make the gingerbread men from scratch this year? I got excited about this prospect, because I’ve never made them from scratch and I always want to learn how to make something or other from scratch. And when I told Jennifer about this idea, she go excited about it, too. Still, hubby ended up buying the box mix all the same. I promptly deposited it into the cupboard, determined to make gingerbread men from scratch that would rival any box mix.
So we got the necessary ingredients, I got out the rolling pin, and we set to work. The recipe says to leave the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but we ended up leaving it in there much longer. Something like 2 hours or so. (Maybe that’s where we went wrong?)
Because Jennifer is an aspiring chef and because she’s so eager to learn this cooking and baking stuff, I let her do the bulk of the work in kneading and rolling out the dough. She also cut out almost all of the cookies. She learned about using flour on the surface, rubbing flour onto the rolling pin and using flour on your hands so the dough won’t stick to them. She had a hard time standing the heat of the oven when she had to put the cookie sheet in, and I reminded her to ONLY touch the pan and NOT the oven or the racks if she is not wearing a mitt when putting the pans inside. After the cookies were done, we let them cool and she decorated them herself. You can see some of her work on here.
One of the cookies broke during handling. I laughed it off and told her that we get to eat the mistakes. Wow, what a mistake it turned out to be! And not just as something that broke or had a decoration goof on it. I broke off a piece of the cookie and tried it. It didn’t taste very good. In fact, it tasted horrible. I gave hubby a piece to try and he agreed it didn’t taste good, either. Well, at least I knew now it wasn’t just me and some kind of mutant taste buds preventing me from enjoying a cookie! Even Jennifer tried it (the chef MUST do a taste test, after all) and she didn’t like it, either. Still, she kept decorating all of them. While I enjoyed her decorations, I kept trying to think of what to do with these yucky cookies. Was it too late to use them for decoration? How does that work, exactly? I wouldn’t donate them; they don’t taste good, so why give them away to people who wouldn’t even be able to enjoy them? Should I trash them? They looked too cute to toss into the garbage.
For the time being, they are stored in the refrigerator. And as I try to figure out what to do with them, I’m also trying to figure out what exactly went wrong. Why don’t they taste good? We used safe food handling. The surface they were rolled out on was clean. I suppose the rolling pin was clean – though not entirely sure there. There hadn’t been anything accidentally added to the dough, and we had followed the instructions. So what had gone wrong?
Maybe it was just a bad day to make things from scratch. If you looked at the picture in the link, you could see the corn muffins that I also made from scratch last night. They didn’t taste good, either. Actually, they were bland. Flavorless.
Maybe it is just the recipe itself. Maybe I should just keep looking and trying until we find one that is perfect.
And, meanwhile, stick to the box mixes.