Susan O’Keefe, the owner of Baked by Susan in Croton-on-Hudson, has fond memories of baking and decorating gingerbread families as a child, gathered in the kitchen with her three sisters. She’s passed the tradition on to her own sons and this year, shared her family’s gingerbread recipe with us.
Baked by Susan is selling gingerbread people ($2 each, or 2 for $1 for the little ones) as well as beautifully decorated gingerbread houses ($30).
Looking for something crafty to do at home? Try one of the gingerbread house kits, which come with ready-to-assemble cookie pieces, an assortment of candy and a container of homemade meringue for decorating. Kits are only available in the Croton bakery, and come festively packaged for $14 each, or two for $25.
Susan O’Keefe’s 3 tips for making gingerbread people
1. Don’t skip refrigerating the dough. This step allows for the dry ingredients to soak up the wet and will give your cookies a better consistency.
2. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. Icing that doesn’t melt will mean neater lines.
3. Not skilled with the pastry bag? Use raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons instead of icing.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup water
- 5 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using the paddle attachment on your electric mixer, cream butter and both sugars until creamy. Add molasses and mix well (batter will look grainy).
- Mix flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg and allspice together in a separate bowl.
- To the butter-sugar mixture, alternate adding flour mixture and water, ending with water.
- Flatten into two discs and put in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. Flour a board and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness.
- Cut shapes as desired or use a cookie cutter.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.
Baked by Susan, 163 Grand St., Croton-on-Hudson, 914-862-0874, bakedbysusan.com. Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 8-4 p.m. Saturday, 8-2 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.