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You may have noticed by now, that we march to the beat of our own drummer around here. It’s not just that I don’t know what Cassidy is going to do at any given time, like come home with a 17-foot Christmas tree, dress up like a 7-foot tree, paint the garden shed to look like a TARDIS, or come home with a puppy, among other things. It’s that I never know when. What about that time he found a moose in a dark clearing? Or placed two kittens in the garden for Scarlet to find? If you want, we can talk about the time he surprised me with Eric Clapton tickets and bought me peanut butter cup ice cream at 3:00am.
I digress, and anyway, that’s a whole post of its own. Today we’re talking about the holidays. When you get two weird dreamers together and give them kids, holidays adjust to their new proportions. There was that matter of the tree, of course, and when “Santa” gave Scarlet four tickets to Disney World. That was truly desirable. Again, I digress. What it’s about is dreaming big and mainly – keeping it real. It’s about what our hearts tell us to do. There are antique ornaments, sure. There are silver bells and rainbow lights and snowmen and picture frames. Then there are SUPERHEROES and other delights.
There are gingerbread, and even truly good ones. Then there are chocolate gingerbread men. Salted chocolate gingerbread men. And why not just up the game and turn those gingerbread men into Salted Chocolate Gingerbread MOOSE?
On Sunday afternoon I went to Walmart to fight my November, early sunset blues. Then I came upon the most amazing Hallmark display! I was really happy because I had wanted to find Star Wars, superhero and Disney ornaments, but didn’t realize I could find them right in my town! There were also many amazing cards too. Every year we go all out with our Christmas tree and decorations, to make them so uniquely “us.” It’s become our annual post-Thanksgiving tradition.
Every year we spread cheer throughout the house with tree decorating, stories, music and cookie baking. I couldn’t wait to see the selection this year, to decide what to get each member of my family. I can never narrow it down well.
These are all the ornaments that describe our personalities. Scarlet’s is Elsa. Des’ is Superman. Cassidy’s is Iron Man. I was so happy to find the perfect Hallmark ornaments for our Christmas tree, and to use as holiday gifts. Walmart has 16 exclusives, resin figurines, Holiday Barbie, new deco figurines and more! I know you’re wondering about me though, right? What ornament is my personality? I think I love the Superman one best, but I’m a moose girl, so I had the kids help me with a new recipe after I gave them their new ornaments for our tree. I really love chewy gingerbread cookies but I wanted to take it to a new level – as gingerbread moose! THEN, I wanted to make them chocolate gingerbread. THEN, I wanted to make them SALTED chocolate gingerbread because I love that taste and it reminds me of the holidays. So I set up a baking station:
I actually pored over a half dozen gingerbread recipes, and then a half dozen chocolate gingerbread recipes and just adapted ingredients how I personally wanted them to taste! They are good! More than 8-10 minutes in the oven is too much, though!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 egg - I used jumbo size
- 2 ounces semi-sweet baking bar - 16 pieces for us
- Coarse or kosher sea salt - amount varies by taste
- Sift the three cups of flour together in a large mixing bowl. Add sifted cocoa powder, baking soda and salt as well! Set bowl aside.
- In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves until the mixture is light and fluffy. It was two minutes for us.
- Melt the chocolate baking pieces in the microwave or on the stove.
- Then add the egg, molasses, melted chocolate mixture and continue beating on medium speed for another two minutes.
- On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients.
- Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the dough to a plate and flatten it into a disk. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Put flour on a flat work surface and roll your dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. I had to separate the dough into quarters and only work with a quarter at a time.
- Use your moose cookie cutter (or cookie cutter of choice) and cut out as many cookies as you can.
- Place the cookies on the lined cookie sheets about one inch apart then gather all the dough scraps into a ball and place into the fridge until you're ready for a new batch.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly raised. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheets, transferring to a cooling rack.
Don’t mind the sporadic sea salt on our moose! That was Scarlet’s doing. I really love the bit of salt it adds to the recipe, though. The chocolate is very rich, and the ginger very nourishing, so the salt is a great balance of everything.