Every year, J’s family gathers together for an epic event known as Bake Day. We all arrive at his aunt’s house in a coffee-fueled daze, recipes in hand, ready for a solid 8 hours of mixing, whipping and decorating. The amateur forgets to bring slippers (do you KNOW what your feet will feel like after 8 hours of standing in the kitchen?). The seasoned veteran knows that whatever they wear will shortly be covered in flour, chocolate, and various other materials. Okay…not a seasoned veteran. Just messy, clumsy me.
Ovens upstairs and down are soon filled with sheet pans, mixers are churning away, countertops are dusted with flour. Christmas carols on the stereo last as long as it takes to make the first few recipes; then Christmas movies take their place as the first few cousins begin to lose interest. There’s at least one person napping on the couch without fail. And the sheer amount of sugar consumed is rivaled only by the metric ton of raw cookie dough licked off fingers and spoons.
Typically, Bake Day involves the usual suspects: gingerbread, cookie brittle, shortbread and a few others. This year, however, we decided to mix it up. Everyone was in charge of bringing a new recipe and the ingredients to make that recipe. I took my Snickersnaps recipe (which we’ve talked about before). Others included S’mores Bars, Turtle Bars, Molasses-Spice Cookies, and Chocolate Pinwheels.
The most anticipated part of Bake Day is the construction of Gingerbread Village. Gingerbread houses are assembled, iced, decorated (and occasionally appear to be on fire). I’m sure I wrote about this last year; the Santa hanging from the roof, the teddy bears soaking in a hot tub of molasses…the giant gummy mice crawling up the walls. Here’s a glimpse of this year’s creations…no arson to be seen.
Every year we’re sent home with Tupperware containers full of the day’s haul. I’ve already shared the Snickersnaps recipe with you, here. But here’s the recipe for my second favourites of the day.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Mix in molasses until thoroughly combined. Reduce mixer speed, and slowly add the dry ingredients until dough forms. Pinch small pieces of dough and roll in white sugar. Bake at 350 degrees, for 10-15 minutes. You can bake two sheets at a time, but the tops won’t crackle uniformly. One at a time is better, if you care about that sort of thing.