Not a Cookie Maker – Part 1

My plan was to follow Sweetopia’s instructions on making her beautiful polar bear gingerbread cookies. (My computer security blocked the website on my laptop but I could easily retrieve it on my iPad.) I had the help of a 120% detail-oriented friend.

Sweetopia's polar bear cookies.
Sweetopia’s polar bear cookies.

In this post I’m going to let you in on some tips and techniques that were left out of (or assumed) in Sweetopia’s post. Suffice it to say I will NOT be making these again in this exact way.  Maybe one day the bears will reappear as sugar cookies (already white) but not gingerbread with royal icing.

Small polar bear cookie cutter is 4.75 by 2.5 inches.
Small polar bear cookie cutter is 4.75 by 2.5 inches.

First I ordered a copper polar bear cookie cutter from ecrandal.com which is beautiful in itself. It arrived on Friday afternoon.

250 grams of unsalted butter
250 grams of unsalted butter

On Saturday morning I mixed up the dough in my Kitchen Aid following the instructions exactly.  I even weighed out the butter and flour in grams as per the recipe instead of using cup and tablespoon measurements.

It al started out so well.
It all started out so well.

I creamed together the butter and brown sugar.

I kept the tablet (just behind the mixer) handy at all times to check the steps and ingredients.
I kept the tablet (just behind the mixer) handy at all times to check the steps and ingredients.

Then I added two eggs and a cup of molasses to the mixture.

The cinnamon, ginger, and cloves made the kitchen smell divine.)
The cinnamon, ginger, and cloves made the kitchen smell divine.

I mixed and sifted all the dry ingredients together leaving out the baking powder. The dry ingredients were added to the wet ones and mixed until blended.

The dough is just below the peas on the bottle rack in the refrigerator.
The dough is just below the peas on the bottle rack in the refrigerator.

The dough was sticky but I put it between two sheets of parchment paper and rolled it out then put it in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Gingerbread dough rolled between parchment.
Gingerbread dough rolled between parchment.

The dough was very firm upon removal from the refrigerator but was still too sticky to roll with the rolling pin without paper.  All the dough had to be rolled between two sheets of parchment.

The bears are cute but sticky.
The bears are cute but sticky.

After rolling to a desired thickness — about a half centimeter — and cutting  with the cookie cutter, we tried to lift the bears from the paper and put them on a clean piece on the cookie sheet.

The first try was more like hippos than polar bears.
The first try was more like hippos than polar bears.

Instead we had to tear away the negative space dough and leave the bear shapes on the original paper in tact.

Much better!
Much better!

On the second try (because there’s a lot of dough) I sifted a little white flour over the parchment then dough topped with another piece of parchment.  The rolling went better and we could extract some individual bears so we could bake a whole sheet instead of just a few at a time.

We counted on icing to disguise the flows of the scraggly bears.
We counted on icing to disguise the flaws of the scraggly bears.

The cookies tasted good — a little spicy and not too sweet.  I think we made about two and a half dozen.  As we were almost finished baking the last batch the electricity went off for an hour and a half. I would have quit at that point but was encouraged by my friend not to lose heart so we stoked up the fire in the fireplace and I went on to an interim project.

Things did not get easier.
Things did not get easier.

Tomorrow I’ll have Part Two:  The finishing.

What have you attempted recently that was more difficult than you planned?  Easier?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

2 thoughts on “Not a Cookie Maker – Part 1”

  1. Oh my, how frustrating! I have a feeling things will not be any easier in tomorrow’s post. I hope at least enough bears pull through the icing process that you have a celebration. On a personal note, I was working in the bedroom / office to get gifts for two friends ready and guess what I found? The two little things I thought had been stolen – just in time to include with their gifts. Happy jig danced.

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