Sleigh Bells Ring
Leaves are falling, temperatures dropping, ovens running and Christmas coming. Daisy and I are amped at the return of our favorite holiday tradition of making gingerbread cookies for decorating the tree. This year, we are shaking things up with some badass cookie cutters to make a Gingerbread Ninja Wreath. 2016 has marked some historic changes, not just on the global arena, but at home with Daisy inspiring me to join her martial arts school. Tuesday and Thursday evenings, we have an hour break between our classes when we sneak off to sit in our car and share a sandwich. Daisy loves to sit in the driver’s seat and pretend she’s taking us to Cambria.
Did you know an Armenian invented gingerbread? No, I’m not trying to whip up some hype about my people. Ok, yes, some people staked claim on George Michael, Gwen Stefani, Andre Agassi ,even Lady Gaga. While most of those claims are unfounded, Andre’s father is part Armenian and George is Greek (close enough). As for gingerbread, an Armenian archbishop by the name of Grigor Makar is credited for having brought spiced cookies to the West by way of France some 1,100 years ago. Who knew this sweet Christmas favorite had such long-toothed roots?
We’re great at keeping this warm tradition alive in our family. Daisy and I started decorating our tree with gingerbread cookies a couple years ago and we’ve kept at it since then. This year, we plan on doing the same thing, but when I told my mom about some petrified cookies left over from long ago, she had a brilliant idea. Since they were in the shape of ninjas, Mom suggested wrapping colorful ribbons around their waists and pinning them onto a wreath. It would make the perfect gift for Mr. Manuk, our karate teacher.
I’ll admit I was dreading making gingerbread from scratch. A recent lunch-time trip to Walmart fixed me up with a quick solution. Sweet Miss Betty Crocker‘s cookie mixes were practically waving at me from down the baking aisle. I could not believe the variety of flavors available, everything from chocolate chip to peanut butter. Unfortunately, the soccer moms had raided the store for the gingerbread cookie mix, so I grabbed the sugar cookie one and left somewhat disappointed.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized a bit of cocoa and pumpkin spice may just be all that’s needed to morph the sugar cookie into gingerbread. That’s just what we did. The dough came out perfectly and Daisy gave the cookies two thumbs up for flavor. The best part was that I really didn’t have to measure much or worry about forgetting an ingredient. Betty Crocker made it so easy and fun to bake cookies this year that I doubt Daisy and I will ever make them from scratch again.
If you’re lucky enough to see the gingerbread cookie mix, GRAB IT! If the spot on the shelf is empty, don’t despair – get the sugar cookie mix and I’ll show you how easy it is to turn it into gingerbread with a chocolaty flavor. Betty’s got you covered!
Gingerbread Ninja Cookies
I’m a craft-store addict. I walk in and fill the shopping cart full of stuff. There’s always a good inventory of plain wreaths at the homestead. Daisy & I grabbed a snowy flocked wreath and a red/white plaid ribbon, but these cookies will look great on any wreath. The ninjamen cookie cutters are from Fred & Friends. I got 1/4-inch ribbon in the colors of every martial arts belt level except brown. The store didn’t have brown and I wasn’t too worried, because brown wouldn’t really stand out well against the cookies, anyway. See what you have around the house, let your imagination run free. Call the kids and have fun together.