Earlier in the week, we took you along for a private baking lesson as our Colonial Williamsburg chefs whipped up a batch of our traditional Raleigh Tavern Gingerbread Cookies. Now, we’re going to kick things up a notch and show you how to turn a good recipe into a great one.
Here is the new recipe that reflects all suggested additions and substitutions from Chef Rodney Diehl. Can you spot the differences? Keep reading to find out what minor adjustments we made.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsulphured molasses
- 4 cups pastry flour (additional flour needed when rolling out dough)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix softened butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, and molasses. Mix well.
- Combine the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Mix well.
- Add the flour to your dry ingredients.
- Then, one cup at a time, add flour mixture to your butter mixture, stirring constantly.
- The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to your fingers. Add more flour if it is not.
- Knead the dough for a smoother texture.
- Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour if needed to prevent sticking.
- When the dough is smooth, roll it out 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface and cut desired shapes.
- Bake on floured or greased cookie sheets (or parchment lined pans) for 10-12 minutes.
NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO—FROM OUR KITCHEN TO YOURS!
CAN IT! This isn’t a secret since we listed it in our first recipe post but it’s where we start. Many similar recipes, even those printed in some of our cookbooks, call for real milk or cream. Chef Rodney says a can of evaporated milk is the key to holding in the moisture and making your cookies turn out more like cakes.
Do Yourself a Favor & Add Flavor Our secret: including a tablespoon of vanilla extract. It’s listed as an “optional” ingredient in the official recipe but for us, it was a no brainer. And once you taste the end result, we think you’ll agree.
Butter is Better The recipe calls for margarine. Our secret: we used butter! Always let your sticks get to room temperature before baking; never use them right out of the fridge.
Switch Out the Soda Our secret: we used baking powder! Baking soda also works but the powder gives it less tang.
Flour Power When you’re rolling out the dough, don’t be afraid to sprinkle on the flour. It will help it become less sticky and it will also make cutting your shapes a lot easier. Our secret: we used pastry flour!
Chill Out Don’t cut your cookies right away. Our secret: chill your dough after rolling it! The pieces you cut will be less likely to stretch out of shape. Another secret: you can also cut the pieces directly on the baking pan and just remove the scraps.
Just in case you’re a little late to the party, click here to see what happened when we went inside the kitchen with Chefs Rodney Diehl and Karl Saunders to bake these ourselves!
What do you think? Did your batch turn out like the real deal? Leave us a comment or better yet, a picture!