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Gingerbread Blossoms

 

I have GREAT news.

School’s out! Can I get a collective HELL YEAH?

Like, I’m dunzo. No more!*
*until life dies again January 23, a day before my twenty-first birthday–sigh.

But whatever. That’s like over a month of vacation to catch up on my shows (American Horror Story, anyone?), do unnecessary shopping and bake, bake, bake without a single thought of algebraic expressions, American Literature, or writing poems.

Well, not completely without a single thought. I did write you a haiku.

School is finished–yay!
Time to celebrate a lot
with the Real Housewives

Oh my god, maybe I should keep writing haikus. That was pretty good.

In the spirit of abandoning education and all things school-related for over a month, I’ve composed a list (you know I love ‘em!) of Reasons Why I’m Excited School Is Ovaaahhh.

1. No homework, quizzes, tests, exams, sanity donations, etc. That means I don’t need to study for anything and my focus can be dedicated entirely to being awesome. Sweet!

2. No weird loud nerds. My lunchtime will be very pleased it no longer has unwelcome, annoying visitors. I sincerely hope over Christmas break they’ll all learn the cardinal rule of cussing: if you’re going to say “bad words” (which btw, I don’t see cussing as “bad”; it’s just language some people disfavor. And for me, I really disfavor the word ‘daddy’ and also the word ‘cheddar’ because it reminds me of feet) you CANNOT giggle incessantly like a schoolgirl after saying the word ‘shit.’ You look like an imbecile. Stop it and learn to cuss correctly, dammit.

3. Five AM wake time is only necessary if my house is burning to the ground, and even then, can’t it wait til like, 8? I used to be an avid morning person (still am) but now I’m a little more apt to sleep in than before (though Jessie would disagree–I just don’t consider laying in bed until 1pm “sleeping in”–that’s called lazy). Having to wake up every Monday and Wednesday at five in the morning to give myself ample bathroom time and get my ‘ish together before I headed off to algebra (genius schedule move right there) was awful. So I’m kicking early wake-up calls in the dust and embracing my bed a little bit longer.

4. The holidays are closer… and closer… and clooooserrrrr. School being out + freezing my booty off are obvious indicators the holidays are basically within reach. The presents under the tree look even more appetizing than the day before, and Jessie stops asking me if he can have his present early (he knows me too well) because it makes sense for him to give up and just wait like a normal human.

5. Um, baking. Let’s not kid ourselves. Namely, baking holiday food. Because gingerbread, peppermint, cinnamon and spice all taste better when you’re not neck-deep in the quadratic formula. You know what else sounds better when you’re neck-deep in quadratics? A noose… but that’s a new story.

Baaack to gingerbread. It’s so good.

For awhile I didn’t like it because I’d only ever associated gingerbread with making gingerbread houses… which I loathe.

I mean, the concept is cool–decorating a house in gum drops and candy canes for a non-existent entity and then demolishing said house to consume. Cool, right?

Yeah but it’s too much work and I’m far too lazy to decorate something elaborate that I won’t even end up eating. Also, my grandma used to let us kids decorate houses when we were younger. She’d always buy these weird kits where the walls and roof were awkward and lopsided, not to mention they tasted much like an actual wall and roof must taste.

Then there was the frosting–my grandma believes any food can be revived as long as it’s long preserved in the freezer. Frosting.. not so much. Even after she microwaved it, it still came out in this weird, wormy log that didn’t make anything stick and tasted like paste. Also, you had to have Brawny-man strength just to weasel even a small glob of icing paste, and as a five year old, I must say I was lacking in my iron and protein vitamins to obtain muscle-man brawn and use frosting from a tube.

ALSO, the candy we purchased was awful. Gum drops? Why do they bother making the purple, yellow, green, pink or orange kind? Just red and white are fine with me. Also, the kits would come with these knock-off M&Ms that tasted really funky, probably because I have the feeling a real-life carpenter created this kit she most likely purchased from the black market as it was hardly edible and probably poisonous.

And the only thing we ever ended up eating were the Mother’s brand gingerbread man cookies. Otherwise our lonely, unoccupied house of nasty sat on our counter for days. Even the ants wouldn’t touch it. We threw it away and it promptly broke through our tile floor from being made from actual concrete. Just kidding. But it was a waste, and I’ve hated gingerbread houses since.

However, I’ve loved gingerbread. So I knew for my Week of Cookies I had to make a gingerbread cookie. But cookie cutters? Soo not my thing. I’m awful with cut-out cookies. Mine all look like bloated masses when they’re done baking, and it’s no fun decorating an obese gingerbread man-mass. Nope. Save your desire to make pretty cookies for Bake at 350; she’s the best.

Alas, Gingerbread Blossoms. They’re easy, taste wonderful, and won’t bring out your holiday gingerbread-house-building or school-related frustrations. I promise.

Gingerbread Blossoms

1 pouch gingerbread cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker), plus ingredients on back of box (adding one additional Tablespoon of water)
1/2 cup white sugar
About 24 Hershey Hugs (white chocolate with a milk chocolate swirl)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray, then blot the excess spray with a tissue. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, prepare cookie mix according to package directions  until a soft dough forms. In another small bowl, place the half cup of white sugar.
3. Roll teaspoon-sized balls of gingerbread cookie dough into the sugar, 2 dough-balls at a time, until coated. Place about 2″ apart on the greased cookie sheets. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of a glass coated in more sugar. Yup, lots of sugar on this one, people.
4. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until cookie centers are set and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to sit on the pan for about 2 minutes before garnishing the top of each still-warm cookie with an unwrapped Hershey hug, pressing gently to adhere (but not too hard or it’ll instantly melt). Allow cookies to cool on pans for about 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
NOTE: the Hugs on top will take longer to cool and harden again long after the actual cookies have cooled, so if you’re packaging these as a gift, make sure to wait until the Hug has cooled.

I love these because they’re a fun and simple take on the classic Peanut Butter Blossom cookie… except with gingerbread, loads of sugar, and white chocolate. Um, yes please.

Also, if you can’t find Hugs for whatever reason, try substituting them with the caramel-filled Kisses or maybe even leftover Pumpkin Spice Kisses…? Mm.

That’s it for Day 3 of my Week of Cookies–stay tuned for 3 more days of tasty.

xo, Hayley

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