I've gotten one Christmas baking project done: gingerbread people. Well, I have also done basic, everyday sugar cookies, the kind I roll in balls and dip in sugar. I dip them in colored sugar and, voila, Christmas cookies. But gingerbread is a multi-step project.
I must say, a KitchenAid mixer is the best thing that's ever happened to my gingerbread process. It mixes up that big batch of stiff dough in no time flat. I got it for Christmas last year, and I'm feeling grateful.
I have the cutest gingerbread people cutters ever, thanks to my mom.
They're Raggedy Ann & Andy. We had them when I was growing up, and she let me have them when I had my own place and started baking gingerbread every Christmas. I have a traditional gingerbread boy cutter, too.
The kids helped roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, and frost them. It took two evenings and they were unusually squirrely, so I had to go looking for some patience. I put on Christmas CDs and we sang along, which seemed to focus all of us - them on listening and singing rather than acting crazy (really, they're very well-behaved children in general), and me on the meaning of Christmas rather than how much mess we were making.
The frosting turned out too stiff for the decorator utensils we were using. I ended up scraping it all back out to thin it, then using a plastic bag with the corner cut off, because that was just easier. Of course, I cut too much off. At that point I didn't care. We're just getting them done.
You can see that some have such skinny lines of frosting; that's from the first attempt. The thicker bands are from the second. None of them are beautiful. But our tradition is accomplished for the year. I hope the kids had fun.