by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a “Certified Good Food Fighter

At All The Best we’re seriously getting into the party spirit! I’m not sure whether we are into Celtic festivities on October 31st celebrating ‘Samheim’ at summer’s end, or following the sixteenth century Western Christian customs of All Hallows Eve, but I can tell you that we are all geared up for fun this Halloween. We’re surrounded by hanging skeletons, bats, large creepy spiders, jack ‘o lanterns, all manner of spooky things and mountains of candy.

Our pastry chefs are creating ghostly cakes, spidery cupcakes and lots of gingerbread bats and cats and things that go bump in the night.

We’ve been making our signature crisp, spicy, buttery gingerbread cookies since our first holiday season in 1984. They’re addictive. Here is the recipe for the next time you want to have fun in the kitchen and bake up a few treats to satisfy the tricksters.

The Best Gingerbread
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
6-7 cups (1.625L) all-purpose flour
4 tsp (20 ml) ground cinnamon
4 tsp (20 ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5 ml)    ground cloves
1 tsp (5 ml)    baking soda
¼ tsp (1 ml)    salt
2 cups (500 ml) butter, softened
2 cups (500 ml) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) fancy molasses

1. In a bowl, combine flour, spices, soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer or with a wooden spoon
until blended.  Add molasses and beat until smooth. On low speed or with a wooden spoon gradually
add flour mixture, mixing until blended. Form the gingerbread dough into two discs, wrap securely in
parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate until using.

3. On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to 1/8 to ¼ inch (0.3 mm to 0.5 cm) thickness. Stamp out
shapes with floured cookie cutters as desired.  Place about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size of cut outs. Be vigilant, as cookies brown
quickly in the last few minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool
completely. Gingerbread becomes crisp when cool. Decorate with icing when completely cooled.

Decorative (Royal) Icing
3    egg whites
½ tsp (2 ml)    cream of tartar
cups (750 ml-1 L) sifted confectioner’s sugar
Gel paste colours
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar on medium-high speed of an electric mixer
or  with a large whisk until frothy. Add icing sugar ½ cup (125 ml) at a time and beat until mixture is
smooth and shiny. Add extra icing sugar by the spoonful until the icing holds soft peaks. Divide icing into
small bowls and add gel paste colours as needed.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size of cut outs

Be prepared! You never know “What fearfu’ pranks ensue…”

Enjoy and all the best!